History of PopSockets

Alyssa Mertes

Kyrsten Ledger

Promo Expert

Published: September 14th, 2018

Updated: May 10th, 2019

PopSockets started in David Barnett’s garage in 2014. Since then, the market has boomed as more and more people want this super cool mobile accessory. Whether you love mandalas, Harry Potter, or cats in outer space, there are a variety of PopSockets at stores and online that fit your style!

Who invented PopSockets? What does a PopSocket do? Grab your cell phone, pop a squat, and get ready to learn about the history of these cool gadgets!

Hour Glass

History of PopSockets Timeline:

Today, 30 million people across the world own PopSockets, but how did it all start? Take a look at the brief history of PopSockets in this exclusive timeline.

  • 2009

    Defenders Source: outlet-estore.com

    OtterBox® created their Defender series. The Defender series came with a clip-on accessory that allowed you to clip it to your belt, attach it to your purse, or convert it to a kickstand. Just like PopSockets you could use the kickstand to watch videos without having to hold your phone.

  • 2009

    Bobino Source: i.pinimg.com

    A company called Bobino started manufacturing Cord Wraps for headphones. This sparked a trend of similar gadgets that store headphones safely without the risk of tangling. These devices were similar to the first concept of PopSockets and shared the same purpose.

  • 2010

    David Barnett Source: thumbor.forbes.com

    David Barnett, a former Philosophy professor and Jason Statham lookalike, wanted a way to store his headphones to prevent them from tangling. This eventually evolved into the idea behind PopSockets.

  • 2011

    Apple Magnetic Fold Source: dhresource.com

    Apple made Smart Covers for iPads that consist of 3 magnetic folds that can create a kickstand when folded correctly. This made viewing videos or using your iPad as a computer screen easier by utilizing the functionality of the case and popping it out to make a stand.

  • 2010-2012

    Barnett Two Buttons Source: i.pinimg.com

    Barnett glued two buttons to the back of his phone to wrap his headphones around. After listening to some family-friendly mocking about his hasty solution he decided to come up with a more appealing design.

  • Early 2012

    Barnett Speck Design Source: kickstarter.com

    Barnett teamed up with Speck Design for his iPhone case design and turns to Kickstarter to share his idea in hopes of receiving funds to help “kickstart” his brand. This idea is scrapped and the PopSockets are designed without the case.

  • 2014

    Barnett Accordion Design Source: images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

    Like many successful companies, Barnett’s business launched from his garage. He took the accordion design, removed the case, added a sticky gel pad, and voila! PopSockets were born. You could now wrap your headphones around its pocketed design or position it to act as a kickstand on your phone.

  • 2015

    Barnett T-Mobile Source: s3-media1.fl.yelpcdn.com

    Barnett signed his first major retail deal with T-Mobile! This put his brand right in the middle of the action and allowed T-Mobile to sell PopSockets as part of buying a new smartphone!

  • Summer 2016

    Barnett Jenna Marbles Design Source: pbs.twimg.com

    Barnett made custom PopSockets for YouTube personality Jenna Marbles. He printed images of her dog’s faces on them, and after she promoted the brand on one of her YouTube videos that have over 1.9 million views.

  • Fall 2016

    Red Carpet Source: cdn.shopify.com

    PopSockets made their way to the red carpet. You can see one making its debut as a helpful lever while Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic take a selfie. By placing PopSockets in the center of your cell phone you are less likely to drop it!

  • February 2018

    PopSocket Car Source: cdn.shopify.com

    PopSockets LLC invented car vent mounts that allow you to slide your PopSockets right in. This gives your phone a spot in your car free from sliding around, and makes car rides safer for those that use their phones as a GPS.

  • Spring 2018

    multi-surface Source: pbs.twimg.com

    Shortly after the car vent mounts came out, PopSockets LLC released a multi-surface mount. Now you can have your phone in your kitchen for a hands-free cookbook, or your bathroom for that makeup tutorial you’re trying to perfect.

  • 2019

    OtterBox® Source: cdn.macrumors.com

    PopSockets teamed up with OtterBox® and released the Otter + Pop Symmetry Series for the iPhone 7 and future models. The case is sleek and slim, and it comes equipped with a built-in PopSocket™ and swappable PopTop™.

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Today a person can go just about anywhere in the United States and not only speak to another person via cell phone, but also use the device to send a text, check e-mail, browse the Internet or even play a game. And many people do just that … all around the world.

– Andrea Nakaya, How Do Cell Phones Affect Society?

Who Uses PopSockets?

Just about anyone can use PopSockets! They’re helpful, stylish and entertaining! Whether it’s promoting your favorite brand, mounting your phone on the kitchen wall to cook, or letting your kids watch a movie without them accidentally backing out of it every five seconds, chances are you can benefit from such a useful promo. However, here are the top people that use PopSockets.

Teenagers

Teenagers

It’s not just about decorating your school locker or wearing the latest trends in fashion anymore. Now teenagers can show off their unique style and the brands they love in their mirror selfies.

Drivers

Drivers

Remember the good ole days of reading maps to get from point A to point B? Now you can use the maps on your smart phone safely in your car with PopSockets and car mounts.

Athletes

Athletes

Many athletes enjoy listening to music to get in the zone. With PopSocketsyou can listen to your music on the go and quickly wrap up your headphones without them getting tangled!

Who Invented PopSockets?

David Barnett Source: thumbor.forbes.com

David Barnett, from Boulder, Colorado is the Founder and CEO at PopSockets LLC. Before starting his company, Barnett worked at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Associate Professor of Philosophy for almost 10 years.

Now a successful entrepreneur, Barnett’s company started at home in his garage. After many failed attempts, support from family and friends, and a Kickstarter campaign showing off his incredible dance moves, he created PopSockets.

David Barnett Source: thumbor.forbes.com

The first model was not the same as the ones that we love and see today! Instead, the accordion-like gadget was actually attached to a phone case and was meant to keep your headphones from tangling. The cell phone case design ultimately failed because Barnett realized mobile devices were always changing. Instead of giving up, Barnett removed the case, added a sticky gel pad, and PopSockets took off without a hitch!

It will be exciting to see what else PopSockets LLC can do to make our lives of owning smartphones easier!

Did you know?

There's success in failure. It took Barnett 15 months and 60 prototypes to make PopSockets.

How Are PopSockets Made?

According to the PopSockets LLC website, PopSockets are made of "Polycarbonate, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), and polyurethane. Also, love." You know what love is, but long story short, all three of the poly's are fancy words for plastic.

How Are PopSockets Made? Source: https://help.popsockets.com

By combining polycarbonate and TPU, you get elasticity and strength. This aids in the flexibility and stability of the accordion-like middle structure of a PopSocket. The polyurethane, on the other hand, helps your PopSocket stick to your phone and ensures that the image printed on it doesn't fade, disappear, or peel off over time.

How Are PopSockets Made? Source: https://help.popsockets.com

The PopSocket was originally designed for headphones, which is why it’s built with two grooves that allows the device to pop open. The walls within the accordion design are even more unique because they include flexural hinges. These allow the buttons to extend straight, and curve to different angles depending on the use, and location, of the PopSockets.

How to Attach a PopSocket

How to Attach a PopSocket Source: https://help.popsockets.com

It’s pretty simple to attach a PopSocket to your phone. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. #1: Peel back the liner so you can see the adhesive. If it’s hard to peel, dig under with your fingernail.
  2. #2: Find the best spot on the back of your phone and place the adhesive in that area. Some people believe it’s the middle, while others are more partial to the bottom center. It’s up to what will fit and work most comfortably for you!
  3. #3: Once you find the right spot for your adhesive, run your finger over it to get rid of any air bubbles.
  4. #4: Remove the film from the back of the PopSocket and mount it on the adhesive.
  5. #5: Enjoy using your new PopSocket!
How to Attach a PopSocket Source: https://help.popsockets.com

Are PopSockets interchangeable? Absolutely! There are certain styles that allow you to mix-and-match, such as the swappable PopTop. This exclusive accessory is available via the PopSocket website!

What Does a PopSocket Do?

A PopSocket is a fashionable stand that attaches to the back of your phone. It makes it easier for you to prop up your device if you want to watch a viral video or something cool on Netflix. They come in many different sizes, colors, and styles, meaning you’ll find one that fits your personality.

What Does a PopSocket Do? Source: facebook.com

Did you know that PopSockets have also been used in the field of medicine? In fact, the company has supported the Arthritis Foundation, Parkinson’s organizations, Craig Hospital in Denver, and the ALS Association. Something so simple like using a cell phone can be taken for granted. PopSockets grip makes this task easier once again for many people!

What Does a PopSocket Do? Source: facebook.com

PopSockets LLC has received fan mail from people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease expressing their gratitude for the invention. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also been credited as easy to use by the Arthritis Foundation after passing their three-step process, including being tested by the arthritis community. PopSockets LLC is also a supporting sponsor in the Arthritis Foundation’s, "Let’s Get a Grip on Arthritis” Campaign. The campaign works to fund research for better treatment options and to hopefully, one day, find a cure.

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PopSockets LLC is an amazing company to partner with, and we really enjoy our partnership, and appreciate all that they do to support the arthritis community.

– Cari Crady, Senior Director, Arthritis Foundation

Do PopSockets Work?

PopSockets work great on your mobile device, especially if you want to watch a funny cat video completely hands-free. They also have a variety of other uses that include:

Media

Media

Whether it’s social media, gaming, videos, or your personal photography, PopSockets make your phone easier to hold onto. With a better grip on your device you can take selfies, text, or make phone calls without the fear of dropping your phone.

Exercise

Exercise

It doesn’t matter how long or often you exercise, PopSockets can come in handy! When you’re running, you can now hold your device securely in your hand or you can get a mount and safely secure your mobile device on your bicycle or treadmill.

Stress Relief

Stress Relief

If you like to fidget, PopSockets are the perfect addition to your phone. Popping and un-popping them helps relieve stress and anxiety. The polyurethane coating means that even if you spin your phone a hundred times, like a fidget spinner, the design will look as good as the day you bought it!

Defense

Defense

PopSockets teamed up with OtterBox® to create a case with a built-in PopSocket. The best part? It has a swappable PopTop™ that allows you to change the design. While this is only being released for iPhone 7 and newer devices, you can expect to see cases for Samsung devices in the future.

Make Your Promotions Pop!

As PopSockets continue to gain popularity and take the world by storm, it’s no surprise that many industries are adding their brand to this cell phone accessory. A company by the name of iClick has been distributing promotional PopSockets® for big companies such as AT&T, McDonalds, and Starbucks since 2015.

Make Your Promotions Pop! Source: Jarred Syputa, Account Manager, iClick

The most common industries that use promotional PopSockets are universities, telecommunications, and healthcare, but many other companies can benefit from this gizmo because it is completely customizable! With different color choices and an almost 2-inch diameter, industries have plenty of room to fit their logo or brand comfortably on the surface of PopSockets.

PopSockets LLC has continued to grow every year since production started and there’s still many phones out there without PopSockets on the back of them. With opportunities for new color options, new styles, and new accessories, the future looks bright for the brand.

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With the explosion of the size of the mobile phone, PopSockets make it easier to carry and to use as a stand. The back of the phone is what many people see. This makes the value of the mobile real estate grand, especially since everyone is constantly on their phone.

– Jarred Syputa, Account Manager, iClick

Did you know?

*It’s important to note that promotional PopSockets are used exclusively as giveaways and that if you plan on reselling PopSockets you must get authorization from PopSockets LLC.

School Spirit: University PopSockets

One brand many young adults like to show off is their school spirit. When you run out of new ways to show your love for your school, because three t-shirts, a tote bag, and bumper sticker are just not enough, you can now pick up University PopSockets! Many universities have begun selling PopSockets with their logo or team mascot on them by popular demand. Between jotting down the deadlines on homework assignments, catching up with friends, and phone calls from mom, college students are constantly on their phones!

PopSocket Aurora Source: Brian Campus, Bookstore Manager, Aurora University

Students at schools like Aurora University are specifically requesting PopSockets at their school’s bookstore. Because of the demand, Bookstore Manager Brian Campus will be selling AU PopSockets at the beginning of Fall Term 2018. They will most likely sell quick once word gets out on campus that PopSockets are finally available.

PopSocket Aurora Source: Brian Campus, Bookstore Manager, Aurora University
Quote Icon

These days, everyone has a phone and if I can get our logo on a large percentage of them on our campus that’s free advertising for the University.

– Brian Campus, Bookstore Manager, Aurora University

Stats for Success

3 million PopSockets were sold all over the world in 2017.

PopSockets LLC revenue grew 2000% in its first year.

People from 40 different countries have purchased PopSockets.

There are 6.8 billion cell-phone subscriptions worldwide. Imagine if all of those cell phones had PopSockets!

The Bottom Line

As long as mobile devices are, in then so are PopSockets! Everyone has a cell phone and uses it at least once a day. Throw on a PopSocket and now that person’s phone is a walking billboard for your brand! PopSockets are unique, customizable, and good for your health! These make excellent gifts for anybody with a mobile device.

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten’s vast knowledge of promotional giveaways and marketing has led to several hit articles. She has also published work for PPB Magazine, a publication from the Promotional Products Association International.

References

2017 Colorado Companies to Watch Winners. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://coloradocompaniestowatch.org/winners/2017-winners/

About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mybobino.com/about-us

Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/ease-of-use/home-and-hobbies/popsockets.php

Barnett, D. (n.d.). PopSockets iPhone Case: It Pops, Props, Kicks and Clips. Retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1250439912/popsockets-iphone-case-it-pops-props-kicks-and-cli

Barnett, D. (2013, September 24). Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35CFb9q1rJw&utm_source=website&utm_medium=about-us&utm_campaign=kickstarter

Benwell, M. (2017, August 25). PopSockets: What are They, And Why are They Going to be 'The Next Fidget Spinner'? Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/popsockets-buy-amazon-ebay-what-are-they-define-how-much-kendall-kylie-jenner-trend-2017-a7913551.html

Bernard, Z. (2017, November 13). A Giant Knob You Can Stick on the Back of Your Phone is Selling Like Crazy. Retrieved from https://nordic.businessinsider.com/popsocket-smartphone-accessories-2017-11

Campus, B. (2018, July 18). [E-mail interview].

Chowdhry, A. (2018, February 14). PopSockets: The Story Behind How It Went From A Simple Concept To Selling Tens Of Millions Of Units. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2018/02/14/popsockets/#57d11bf746a9

Crady, C. (2018, July 24). [Phone interview].

Parkinson's Foundation. (2018, July 10). Retrieved from http://parkinson.org/

Gangan, A. (2016, January 20). 10 Uses of PopSockets. Retrieved from https://www.upbeatz.com/blogs/news/73500805-10-uses-of-popsockets

Marbles, J. (2016, July 14). Open Letters. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdq-Nw0HCTE

Our Story. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.popsockets.com/pages/whats-a-popsockets-grip

Ryckman, L. (2017, July 3). Digital Disruptors iImagining a New Economic Paradigm. Retrieved from http://www.cobizmag.com/Companies/Digital-disruptors-imagining-a-new-economic-paradigm/

Singer, D. (2018, April 30). PopSockets: A Pop Culture Phenomenon from the Brain of a CU Philosophy Professor. Retrieved from https://www.5280.com/2018/04/popsockets-a-pop-culture-phenomon-from-the-brain-of-a-cu-philosophy-professor/

Syputa, J. (2018, July 16). [E-mail interview].