The Phone Monkey universal smartphone holder is a new accessory by BOING! Designs. Currently in the pre-production stages, its corresponding Kickstarter page has received 242 backers pledging $3672 at the time of publication; it has reached 83% of its funding goal with five days to go, and is projected to be available at Adorama.com in September for $9.95.

So what is this thing? Simply put, the Phone Monkey is an extremely flexible stand made from silicone and steel. Because of its flexibility, it can hold practically any smartphone, in a variety of different viewing positions. You can use it on a flat surface, or even hang it from a rear-view mirror (BOING! Designs also recommends door knobs or nails). You might even use it as a tripod or stand while Skyping, or using FaceTime or Google Hangouts. BOING! Designs says that it has “created ABS prototypes to confirm dimensions and have received factory samples to confirm materials and function,” which is why it claims compatibility with so many different phones. In fact, “Phone Monkey is ready to go to mold and begin production.”

Phone Monkey 1

In my day to day use, I’m fairly pleased in the flexibility that this stand provides. I can bend it or shape it any way I want, and it generally stays exactly as I left it – it doesn’t “remember” its previous position and try to bend back, and that’s a good thing. One criticism I have is that it can be difficult to position the tail in just the right way to keep my phone at an optimal angle, but that’s probably more a comment on my lack of ability to mold anything, rather than a knock on the product itself.

When using the Phone Monkey on a flat surface, it’s most logical to use your phone in portrait mode. I did test hanging my phone from my rear view mirror, and while it was able to grip my phone in landscape mode, as well, I was a little nervous that my phone might fall down (it never did). I also couldn’t get used to glancing all the way up at my rear view mirror while on the road, so I really don’t recommend this as a substitute for a car mount.

Phone Monkey 2

Still, it’s clever and – dare I say – cute. This might make a great cheap gift for someone who really likes monkeys, or you might even have fun with it yourself. I wouldn’t pay more than ten bucks for it, but I find that price fair enough. In any case, it’s probably one of the most unique smartphone stands you’ll come across in a very long time!

To reserve one of the first Phone Monkeys, simply pledge $10 at Kickstarter. There is also a limited edition black Phone Monkey available at $8 – and of course, different pledge levels get you different things. All the details can be viewed at the link below, along with even more fun ideas about how you can use this.

[Kickstarter]