There's nothing worse than a smartphone that lays down on the job--especially when that job is showing a movie on an airplane, a photo slideshow at your desk, a recipe in your kitchen, or the time of day on your nightstand.
For those and other applications, your screen needs to stand up. Sure, you could drop a few bucks on something like the GoGoStand, a cool and convenient solution, but I think it's a little more fun to take the MacGyver approach.
You can cobble together a fantastic phone stand using everyday household objects. Here's a look at four of my favorites:
1. The gift-card stand
Stop! Don't throw away that used-up gift card. Or hotel room-key. Or even expired credit card. In about 10 seconds you can turn just about any such piece of stiff plastic into a killer stand. One strategic fold here, a second one there, and boom, you're done. Take a look:
If you need more instructions (and/or want to see the stand "in action"), check out the Instructables source page for this ingenious card-hack.
2. The paper-clip stand
Ah, the paper clip. Is there nothing it can't do? Get yourself a big one, straighten it out, then bend it as described in this video. (Need help? There's a template available at the inventor's site.)
3. The coffee-sleeve stand
Stop! Don't throw away the cardboard sleeve that stood between your hand and your piping-hot venti latte. As described over at Business Hacks (nepotism alert: I was the one who did the describing), you can easily turn a coffee-cup sleeve into a phone stand. Here's the (slightly overlong) video if you want to get right to the how-to:
4. The business-card stand
Can't find a paper clip? Don't drink coffee? Surely you can lay hands on a business card (the thicker the better). A few folds, a few cuts, and presto: instant stand. Here's the finished product, as devised over at Instructables:
This is one of the first DIY stands I learned to make, and the ancient, mangled, still-functional proof continues to ride around in my carry-on.
I should note that none of these stands will hold your device upright, in portrait orientation. That's not a big deal if you're mostly watching movies, but there are times when a taller (or more versatile) stand might be desirable.
For example, there's the MoviePeg, a clever little chunk of plastic that props up your iPhone (and probably most other phones as well) vertically or horizontally. It sells for £4.99 (about $7.45 in USD).
If you've got money to burn, the $24.99 Zphonestand rotates as necessary and uses foam-tipped arms to keep your device securely. I could see having one of these in the office; to me it says "executive."
Finally, can't leave without mentioning a deal: iPhone owners looking for a double-duty stand should check out Meritline's Standing Steel Snap-On Protector Case Faceplate (clever name, no?), which features a cute little pop-out kickstand. It sells for $9.99 shipped, but coupon code MLCK211STAND032260NL1 cuts the price to $4.99. (I'm not sure how long the code is good.)
Did I miss your favorite phone stand, DIY or otherwise? Hit the comments and tell me your preferred method for propping up the ol' screen.