Smartphones are fast becoming a replacement for our wallets. But until someone invents a phone case that is as versatile as a folded hunk of leather, we’re stuck carrying both: the phone for our digital bits and bobs, and the wallet for everything else. Elasty, a concept iPhone case that recently won a Korean Belkin Design Award, might just be that mythical wallet-killer. It’s a simple piece of molded silicone, much like the hundreds of iPhone bumpers already on the market--but with a twist: The backside is split into five slits, turning the case into a flexible, bungee-cord-esque carryall for headphones, cash, keys, or just about anything else in your pocket.
What’s brilliant about Elasty (designed by Yoori Koo) is its combination of simplicity and versatility. Other ingenious smartphone case-cum-accessory-holders tend to focus on integrating one extra product, such as a pair of headphones. Elasty, meanwhile, doesn’t try to anticipate any (or every) particular accessorizing problem and perfectly solve it. It provides a "good enough" solution with an instantly intuitive physical affordance--"flexy thing holds stuff to the back of my phone"--that’s versatile enough to let the user decide how to use it best. If Belkin actually decides to produce Koo’s design, it probably won’t even need to come with instructions.
And Belkin definitely should bring Elasty to market. It really looks like something that could make a wallet feel redundant. Like a money clip, Elasty can easily hold a fold of cash, an ID and a credit card or two, and a pair of headphones. Unless you’re George Costanza, what more do you need?