The idea behind the original Joby Gorillapod was simple, clever, and winning: Take a camera tripod, shrink it to handheld/tabletop size, and give it bendy legs that can wrap around bars and handles and other surfaces. The result was a popular little accessory that allowed point-and-shoot photographers to steady their pocket digicams and "mount" them on all sorts of weird surfaces like monkey bars and baby cribs in order to get shots that would have been shaky at best - and impossible to capture at worst - without Gorillapod.
Gorillapod was successful enough to spawn a few spin-offs, including the new Gorillamobile. The folks at Joby sent me a sample of the $29.99 Gorillamobile to take for a spin, and it's basically a Gorillapod with a few new interchangeable mounts that let you use the pod with a mobile phone or any other small, screw mount-less gadget. A lock clip system lets you swap between four included clip mounts: A standard camera tripod screw, a high-tech suction cup, and two "permanent" adhesive mounts.
I'm gonna level with you: I haven't tried the permanent adhesive mounts. Permanent scares me, and I don't have any gadgets that *really* need a clip mount stuck to them forever. I have tried the camera screw and suction cup mounts, though, and have been generally enamored - though slightly frustrated at times - of the whole setup. It's fun.
The deal with Gorillamobile is: 1) You have to make sure you're not overloading the thing with too heavy of a gadget, 2) You have to make sure you're not angling the tripod so far that the whole setup tips face-first under the weight of the gadget you've mounted, and 3) You have to learn how to use the suction cup properly. Oh yeah, there's a 4) The flexible legs seem to do better wrapped around semi-thick, round bars, than thinner or squarer ones, at least in my experience.
I tried using Gorillamobile with a few fancy cell phones as I would a regular camera tripod. The results were mixed until I started following those four guidelines I just mentioned. First off, the suction cup works via a tiny plastic lever. Before I read about that on Joby's website, I was trying to get the thing moist and pressure-suck it onto my phone, like one would with a normal, cheapo suction cup. The lever system works much better than a cheapo suction cup would, but you have to be careful not to accidentally disengage the lever when clipping the mount into the pod. I did that a few times. It could well just be that I'm clumsy, though.
Second of all, wrapping Gorillamobile's legs around thin bars - like those on the little lighting rig I have set up to shoot videos - does not work. The flexible legs need something of substance to grab onto. A look at the Gorillamobile site confirmed this for me: iPhones are happily Gorillamobiled around thick, foam-wrapped stroller and treadmill handles, not the thinner, bare-metal legs of a light stand. Point taken.
Third of all, Gorillamobile works great for holding a device and angling it so it's easy to use the device's screen and buttons. I mimiced Joby's website by wrapping my pod's legs around some handlebars and the thick wooden rods on our guest bed (see photo at top) and it worked great. That whole iPhone on a baby stroller thing? I could totally see the parents in my neighborhood gettin' down with Gorillamobile just like that. And if my car had a super-big handle on the glovebox? Total Gorillamobile action.
As it is, I keep running into Gorillamobile's limits, but I think that's just because I want to use the thing to turn my cameraphones into crazy, artsy, wild-angled image capturing machines. I actually tried filming my recent Samsung i8910HD unboxing video with the i8910HD mounted on the pod and then positioned above the subject matter from an overhead angle. Didn't work. The i8910HD is a beefy, heavy device, and the overhead angle was too much for Gorillamobile and its suction cup. And like I said, I didn't want to risk it with that permanent adhesive clip.
But I think if you use Gorillamobile as it's intended - as a mini tabletop tripod, wrapped around the cushy handles of your stroller, or curled about a nice, thick wooden dowel (bedpost?) - you'll find it a clever and sometimes quite useful little device. Thirty bucks is maybe a bit steep for something like this, but Joby isn't really competing with many other players in the space, so there's not much pressure on them to cheapen things up.
And the combo of camera screw mount and fancy suction cup gives Gorillamobile dual purposes in your life. Unless, like me, you only ever use your cameraphone and don't even own a digital camera (yeah, yeah, I have a fancy HD camcorder too, but that's different).