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article imageGoogle's new tool lets you build your own photographic phone case

By James Walker     Apr 14, 2016 in Technology
Google has announced a new online tool to let owners of its Nexus smartphones create truly unique cases featuring their own photo or map and overlay design. "My Live Case" rivals Motorola's similar Moto Maker, making phones more personal.
Google announced My Live Case in a blog post today. It will let you customise your phone case with a photo or map, provided you own a Nexus 5X, 6 or 6P. It appears unlikely it will expand the program to other devices in the future.
The Live Case configurator can be accessed from the main Google Store. It lets you choose a photo to add to your case, overlay it with a filter and selection of different art styles and then preview the result. As well as a physical case, Live Case orders also include a live wallpaper for your phone, adding motion to your background image that matches the image on your case.
"Our design studio on the Google Store allows you to personalize your phone case with either your favorite photo or a special place on Google Maps," said Google. "Then, with dozens of filters, you can make your design fit your style – be it vibrant and bright or polished and chic. Along with your signature case, you get a live wallpaper to bring your design to life on your home screen."
When a live case is attached to your phone, the background image will automatically display a pre-selected slideshow of images stored in your Google Photos account. The images can be customised later by pressing a dedicated shortcut button on the back of the case, opening the camera to shoot some new photos.
Examples of Live Cases for Google Nexus phones
Examples of Live Cases for Google Nexus phones
The introduction of My Live Case marks a growing trend in the smartphone markets. Increasingly, people want more control over the look of their device, customising the design to suit their taste and create a unique handset that stands out from the crowd. At a time when smartphone design has been refined so far that few phones look unique, adorning a case with a personal photo gives a phone a touch of personality that a stock handset cannot offer.
Google isn't the first to offer customers more control over their handset's design. Motorola's Moto Maker tool lets you customise the phone itself, choosing the case material, trim colours and accent details. Google only lets you build a case for your Nexus, leaving the phone inside no different to any other.
Nexus Live Case is available now in the U.S. Worldwide availability details have yet to be announced. Both the Photos and Places cases cost $35, considerably more than a comparable standard snap case. An off-the-shelf product lacks the unique identity of a Live Case though, a feature that fans of customisation may be willing to pay for.
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