Last week I had a blast at TechCrunch 50, an annual conference where 50 technology companies are launched, presented, judged and potentially take home a huge pot of gold if they are selected as winners by the judges. My company, GoGrid, a Cloud hosting provider, had a booth there and I spent two full days there staffing the booth, talking to techies, looking for cool swag (“stuff we all get”) for my kids, discussing Cloud Computing and generally enjoying the hype.
During my many hours there, I came across a very cool Bay Area company called Coveroo who had probably the (second) best giveaway (next to the guy giving out free beer, of course). They were doing laser etchings or engravings on people’s phones and computers. Normally a $20 and up service (plus shipping), all you had to do was hand your phone over for about 30 minutes (there was a wait), send them some artwork or choose from some of the stock art they had on-hand and watch smoke and lasers fly.
Excited to get this done quickly, I raced back over to our booth, fired up my laptop, found an Adobe Illustrator file of my HighTechDad logo that you see on this blog, emailed it over to their booth and then headed back to the Coveroo booth to watch the laser burn the backing off my iPhone (and my Mophie JuicePack Air).
I waited patiently, with a low-end camera in hand to record the actual process of the etching taking place. While waiting, I learned some interesting things. For one, they have the ability to do both color (they call it “HighColor” which uses supposedly 65,000 colors) and non-color “stencils” or engravings. The laser machine that they had at the show was “lower end” and did not do anything in color, but that was fine for me. The color process involves you sending your phone or backing off to their shop and getting it done on a different machine that actually overlays paint and a type of acrylic cover to protect the artwork.
The machine at the show essentially strips off a little less than a millimeter of the surface of the object that you want engraved. On my Mophie battery pack, the actual engraving is subtle whereas the iPhone produced a much more visible result. Since the Mophie is solid black plastic, stripping off a layer of it produced more black underneath but looks like a textured gray in color. My Mophie is a bit scratched up from lots of pocket-time.
The iPhone, according to the Coveroo rep I talked to, actually has white plastic underneath the black shiny acrylic cover and when the laser burns off the top, it also burns the white plastic underneath, producing a golden color.
The end result was a tattooed iPhone and Mophie case, making it completely unique! Everybody has an iPhone it seems, but Coveroo gives you the ability to truly “brand” (in both senses of the word) your phone or computer as your own.
If you want to get this done or get a color version, you need to go through their relatively easy process on their website:
- Choose from over 1,000 designs or send in your own
- Select your phone
- Depending on the phone, they will either send you a backing that matches or work out some other arrangements to send your phone in to get it engraved
You can do this with other devices as well like iPods, Zunes, laptops, notebooks and other gadgets. According to their site, they support “All Blackberry Models Apple iPod Nano 8GB, 16GB, iPod Touch 8GB AT&T Quickfire HTC G1, Dash, Touch LG CU515 CU920 Decoy Shine Dare Incite Invision Motorola SLVR L7 Motorola RAZR all models Motorola, SLVR L6, V180, V220, U6 Pebl, Rapture Nokia 6550 Pantech C630 Samsung U340, U410, A737, Omni i900, SCH-A777, Alias SCH-U740, M300″. This is a great way to personalize your devices (but remember, it probably lowers the resale value of them as well). I don’t plan on getting rid of my iPhone so I wasn’t really concerned with this. Also if you don’t have a logo or artwork that you want carved in, the folks at Coveroo will do it for you for a small fee.
Regardless, it’s a pretty neat concept, even better watching it happen live and the end result becomes a conversation piece.
HTD says: Sure phones and cases are cool, but getting your gadget engraved with your name, logo or other artwork using Coveroo is even cooler!