Add Handl, short for “hand liberation,” to the list of accessories you never knew you needed. Attached to the back of this $40 smartphone case is an elastic band that slips between your ring and middle fingers and pulls a small rectangular plate against the top of your fingers, holding the smartphone securely to your palm.
The first models, due in July, cover the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Versions for the iPhone 6, Galaxy S 6 and other popular phones are coming soon after, the inventor, Allen Hirsch, told me when we met today at CE Week in New York City.
Beyond his device, what kept me talking to Hirsch was his day job as an accomplished painter, creating the Time Magazine portraits of Gaddafi, Khomeini, Gandhi and others that I grew up with. He also painted Bill Clinton for the National Portrait Gallery.
I don’t see myself buying a Handl soon (besides, I have an iPhone 5). But it’s another example, alongside the famous/infamous selfie stick phenomenon, of accessories that try to make our constant tech companion more…handy.
Seemingly everyone walks around with a smartphone in their palm. Why not use a piece of elastic to prevent them from dropping it (like I always do), especially when they are texting (like I always do)? Handl is also useful for selfies, the company told me, as you can hold your arm out far without dropping the phone — and because venues are starting to ban selfie sticks.
The plate on the back of Handl can also be positioned to serve as a kickstand. Those are common in a lot of smartphone and tablet cases, and even integrated into some gadgets, such as the Microsoft Surface.
And why not? People read a tremendous amount on their smartphones, and smartphones and tablets are becoming the top devices for watching video. Why not free up your hands so you can do other things — like fiddle with your smart watch?