Meet Cliq, the smartphone case with 3 buttons that do what you want them to do

Hardware buttons on phones can have a big effect on users. Take, for example, handsets with dedicated camera buttons: Fans of┬ámobile photography swear by them because they let you quickly do what you want to do. What if you could add three hardware buttons to your smartphone simply by using a specific case? To take things even further, what if you could dictate what those three buttons do? Now we’re talking!

Enter Cliq, a smartphone case that has a trio of programmable buttons.

cliq case lineup

I love the idea behind this product, which is a Kickstarter currently in progress. Instead of handset makers deciding which buttons to add — or not include, as the case may be — Cliq puts you in control. The three buttons can be programmed for various one-touch tasks of your choice and you can change those tasks whenever you like.

The secret sauce lies in NFC, or near-field communications. When you press a button on the Cliq case, a wireless signal is sent to your phone to kick off a task you’ve previously set. By using NFC, there’s no need to charge the Cliq, nor does it use power from your phone. After hitting a button, software does the rest — snapping a picture, sending a text, controlling music playback, calling an emergency contact or whatever it is you’ve configured Cliq to do.

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The early bird deals for Cliq are already gone, so if you’re interested in this intelligent, programmable case, you’ll need to pledge $30. Cliq is planned to support the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3; Moto X; Nexus 5 and LG G2 handsets. If you want the functionality of Cliq but don’t care for phone cases, it will also be offered in a thin skin for the same Android(s goog) handsets.