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Rings attach via powerful neodymium magnets, can be branded for colleges, weddings, or corporate events

Walking the show floor on Thursday at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) in Las Vegas, Nevada, I saw a few nifty gadgets, websites, robots, and accessories which I didn't get to cover during the rush of the show.

Among these was "Bakbone" a company that's marketing a unique tablet-holder form-factor dubbed the "tablet ring".

What is a tablet ring?  The tablet ring is a hand-mounted holder consisting of a metal or plastic ring (which you will wear on your finger when in use) and some form of attachment to adhere that ring to your tablet device. 

Bakbone spine mount

The resulting form factor allows you to "wear" the tablet on your finger.  It sounds like an uncomfortable idea, but if done properly it feels suprisingly comfortable.  An advantage over traditional holders is that with smaller tablets like the Google Inc. (GOOG) Nexus 7 you can prop up your arm to provide much closer views to the tablet, perfect for an in-flight movie on the small-screen

The Bakbone retails for about $30 USD on Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) website.  It looks somewhat like a ring pop, which will give it a bit of nostalgia appeal.  Inside the box is the holder with the attachment neodymium magnet stuck to the in-ring magnet.

Bakbone ring

The device comes with some pretty stern warnings...

... which basically tell you "with great magnetic power comes great responsibility."

Backbone ring warning

Bakbone

Basically, as this thread discusses, any E-INK or LCD reader is fine with strong magnets.  The only things you want to keep them away from are hard disc drives (HDDs) (which store data on magnetic disks), strong magnets (think MRI machines), old-fashioned (cathode-ray tube (CRT)) monitors and televisions, and floppy discs (for younger readers who don't know what that is, don't worry abut this one).  But you do have to be a bit careful with this or any other magnet-containing product (many covers contain strong magnets, as well).

Moving on to the ring itself it contains two magnets that are stuck together.  The outermost magnet you'll peel a sticker off of to prepare for adhesion.  Before you do that clean your tablet with some alcohol and decide where you want to place the ring.

Bakbone ring

Beware -- the adhesive is quite strong -- but requires some time to fully bond to the device. 3M Comp. (MMM), the adhesive's producer, says that the device is 50 percent bonded within 20 minutes, is 90 percent bonded within 24 hours, and is fully bonded within 3 days.  In other words, you should ideally wait a day after attaching your device before use, but at least wait half an hour.

Also beware, you'll have to order more Bakbone rings, or contact Bakbone about ordering replacement magnets if you want to configure mounts for multiple tablets.

Bakbone isn't the only ring-style tablet holder, and if you add in strap-style hand holds there's actually many different options.  Still, I felt Bakbone was one of the most compelling entries in a compact segment both due to its look, the strength of its adhesion, and a third little bonus -- branding.

The outer layer of the ring consists of a clear, strong plastic.  The inner layer, in its most basic form is a colorful plastic that allows customization.  But you can also insert logos in the inner layer.  Bakbone showed off an Apple branded (for you iPhone fans) and a Stanford University-branded ring.

Bakbone ring

The unique branding twist, in particular, gives this tablet ring a hand up (pun), or at least a finger up on its competition.  I forsee the device growing quite popular among college shops and in corporate event giftbags.




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