The design of smartphones has remained more or less the same since 2007, with all of them having a rectangular shape and smooth surfaces. These smooth backs, fronts, and sides definitely feel comfortable and look really nice, but as Google noted in a recent patent, the smoothness is what makes it so easy for people to drop and potentially damage their devices. That’s why the company has patented a new smartphone housing that, while ugly as hell, would significantly reduce the risk of accidentally dropping your smartphone.
A new patent filed by Google shows an innovative method for preventing you from dropping your smartphone and smashing all of the delicate circuitry inside. It’s actually a new type of housing designed to give your fingers better grip around the sides of the device — even if it doesn’t look particularly stylish, it could save you a few hundred dollars in repair costs. “Despite the significant advances in handheld electronic devices, the physical form of these devices has seen little evolution,” notes Google in its patent filing. “Most are shaped like a more or less smooth brick with increasingly smooth front, back, and side surfaces. This configuration can easily slip from the hand of the user, and risk damaging the phone with potential loss of valuable data as well as hardware.” The ideas contained in patent applications don’t always make their way to consumers — they’re just an indication of what the engineers at a particular company are exploring — so this strange casing may not arrive in time for the next batch of Nexus devices. It certainly looks more grippable based on Google’s diagrams but there would still be a chance of your smartphone taking a tumble.