Google Harnesses Your Inner Artist With NFC-Equipped Live Cases For Nexus 5X, 6 And 6P

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If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your Nexus smartphone’s exterior, Google has a new offering that might be right up your alley. The search giant has introduced what it calls Live Cases, which are essentially plastic cases that snap onto the back of your smartphone.

But these are more than just your everyday, static cases — you can visit the Google Store and try out the My Live Case workshop, which will allow you to upload your favorite photos to add to the case. You can then apply filters (there are a dozen to choose from) to add an even more personal touch.

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However, the magic starts with the live wallpapers that are specifically tied to the Live Case that you design. As soon as you snap on the case, a slideshow of your chosen photos (grabbed from Google Photos, of course) is displayed on your home screen background. Google has also added an auxiliary shortcut button on the back of the case that you can customize to launch your favorite apps (or quickly change a device setting). The shortcut button along with the automatic display of your chosen wallpaper photos are initiated using NFC.

Google is even allowing you to upload maps to your Live Case, which makes for some interesting interactions:

Fashion your phone with a stylized map of your favorite location from around the world – whether it’s your dream vacation destination or hometown. Your live wallpaper will show a map of your whereabouts as you go about your day. With a tap of the shortcut button, the app will show you what’s nearby on Google Maps.

Google first tried out the Live Case idea with the Skrillex-based accessory for the Nexus 6. But given that not everyone is a Skrillex fan, this is a much more diverse and palatable solution for Nexus device owners. Speaking of which, Live Cases are compatible with the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P. They also won’t come cheap; Google is selling them for $35 each including free shipping.