Editor's take: It’s a neat parlor trick, for sure, but one has to think that the novelty of it would quickly wear off. What’s more, most people I know still use smartphone cases to protect their pocket computers, thus rendering the visual effect useless because it would be hidden behind the case.

Chinese technology company Vivo has shared a video of a prototype smartphone featuring a color-changing rear panel.

The technology behind the wizardry is called electrochromism, a phenomenon in which the color or opacity of a material (in this case, glass) can change as voltage is applied to it. It’s similar in concept to what you might have seen some window companies pitching at CES in recent years to control the amount of light and heat coming into your home or office.

Vivo has taken the idea and applied it to a smartphone, allowing you to change the color of the rear panel. In the teaser shared on Weibo, it appears as if the prototype can only switch between silver and a purplish/blue color.

Given the added cost that such a feature would no doubt impose, it feels like an ill-advised idea all around.

No word yet on when or if Vivo plans to bring the technology to market in a future phone.

Masthead credit: Framesira