Previously I’ve mentioned that each new handset release jumpstarts a small, but noticeable wave of accessories, at least for many handsets. Fact is that the Apple iPhone has created a cottage industry of chargers, cases and docking stations, but the size and shape of the actual handset has changed very little with each new model.
The same can’t be said of the BlackBerry or Palm devices, which change just enough that you can’t always use the previous models’ stuff. Some of this will be changing as the industry moves to a standard power adapter, which will make replacing a power cord or car adapter a bit easier.
But the accessory that will continue to evolve and change with each new handset model will be the rubberized sleeve. These are generally affordable and could make a good gift this holiday season, or could be something you could suggest to a co-worker who already has made it clear he/she wants to get you something.
So this brings me to the question of the day, “Do you really need to spend – or have someone else spend – an extra $5 to $10 for a sleeve to protect your handset?” My answer, “Yes, no or maybe.” OK, that’s not much of an answer frankly, I admit. So let me clarify.
Let’s ask the question again, “Do you need a rubberized (or other padded material) sleeve for your mobile phone?”
If you have a smartphone or other handset with a large display, then yes, a sleeve is recommended. Even a thin layer of rubber will help protect the phone in a fall. Likewise, it will help reduce scratches. Many smartphones come with carrying cases or holster sleeves, and these are good, but how often do you drop the handset while removing it from a holster or other case? If you answer even once, consider a sleeve to provide some padding.
If you have an older smartphone handset and aren’t sure when you’re likely to replace it, then consider getting a case to give it a little more protection. Just because it is older doesn’t mean it can’t use a case or sleeve. The same can be said of some feature phones. Many of these can handle a bit more of a drop, and frankly the cases and sleeves for these are awkward. Personally, I’ve never seen a good protective sleeve for most feature phones.
Finally, if you’re thinking of replacing your phone soon, save the $5 and buy a coffee and muffin for breakfast instead. Cottage industries often are built around providing accessories and products that no one really needs. And with all due respect to those companies, there are plenty of ways to personalize your mobile phone and a skull and bones hard case for your iPhone probably is something most people (except actual pirates) ever really need.