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October 14, 2007

Intelligent Design - Redux

krusell_case_multiadapt_stress_risers.png

Durable holding cases are a precious commodity. Anyone who uses smartphones (ie Treo, Blackberry, etc) can attest to the fact that a scratched display lense spells doom. It is quite costly to replace the crystal. The glass surface is especially important on a Treo, as it deploys a touch surface for command execution. Yet another reason to love a Treo ;) Perhaps the one detractor for most smartphones is the mass of the device or its footprint.

Well, Swedish company Krusell provides a very popular case to protect your trusty Treo and other smartphone models. In fact, I have purchased at least three of their cases in the last couple of years. Unitl recently, I had been pleased with their lifetime warranty. What has caught my ire is their MultiAdapt feature. It essentially is a piece of injection molding riveted/stamped to the vinyl case. It appears that Multiadapt is a separate company which leases this feature to various OEMs. The problem with the Multiadapt are numerous. The plastic molding has very sharp corners as shown in the inset pic above. You do not really need an engineering degree to understand the two sharp corners will likely propagate cracks under high stress.

The high stress is exacerbated by the weight of the smartphone and the constant insertion/removal of the smartphone device. These Krusell cases become useless once the multiadapt feature fails. The failure mode is quite repeatable. I have gone through two cases.
While I appreciate Krusell standing behind its products and offering the lifetime warranty.. Who really wants to ship their case to Sweden, each time it fails? Time is money, so nothing is free.

Why not force your supplier (ie Multiadapt) to make a more robust design? Surely, the investment in a new injection molding would be simply the cost of fabricating new tooling. At the volume these guys are fortunate to be experiencing the investment hurdle (ROR) probably would be minimal. Just a guess.

Hopefully, I can help improve their product. I will contact their CEO and Sales & Marketing VP.

Posted by AG at October 14, 2007 11:03 AM