Touchscreens are a wonderful thing, but there are moments where you wish your smartphone was a little more… tactile. Easier to launch features with. Sure, there are the home and back buttons, but it’s not quite the same. Dimple allows you to customize your device with all the buttons you want.
Dimple, as you might have guessed from the name, lets you stick a button pretty much anywhere on your Android phone. Or, you can simply get a case with a couple of buttons built in. Either way, the buttons are easy to use; just tell the app what you want each button to do, and you’re all set. Whether you’re opening an app or calling your top contact, the button does it for you automatically. You can even stick them over your case.
But how, precisely, does Dimple pull that off? Essentially, through using a function of high-end Android phones you’ve probably forgotten about, NFC. NFC, or near-field communication, was supposed to be the next step in phone-to-phone contact and Google still uses it for a few functions, like Android Beam. Dimple uses it instead to send commands; once a command is mapped to the button, clicking it sends a message to the NFC chip, and your phone follows its orders. Before you ask, yes, in theory, you could stick these to a surface near your phone, and have them follow the same function.
Tap The Button
Dimple, which just wrapped a crowdfunding campaign, is clever not least because it lets you customize your phone in a new way. And, truthfully, most of us could use a hardware shortcut to the apps we use most; think about how you actually use your phone over the course of a day. Keep an eye out for the overall product later this year.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.