Modu Modular Phone To Show its Tricks At MWC Tradeshow

The Modu, with its extremely lateral-thinking approach to cellphone design, created something of an Internet sensation when its maker revealed plans for a modular cellphone last year. And now, 12 months later, it looks like the device will finally get a big unveiling at the upcoming Mobile World Congress tradeshow.

The heart of the Modu concept is easy to understand: It's a tiny, and I mean really tiny—possibly the world's smallest—cellphone unit that handles essential phone applications and hardware. It's got a basic keyboard, screen and interface, and acts as a media player and 2GB mass-storage device as well as contains the SIM card and cellphone electronics.

The core is designed to be easily dockable into a series of "jackets" that add extra, use-specific, hardware to the overall device. You can imagine it being useful if you're out jogging, and you select an MP3/GPS jacket, or you're off for a walk in the countryside and you choose the full-function digital camera jacket in case you see something worth photographing. It's kind of the Swiss Army Knife of cellphones, or an evolution of the once-trendy Nokia phones with interchangeable plastic shells.

After spending a reported $85 million of venture capital funding on development, the Israeli company behind the device is ready to show a production-ready Modu device at the MWC show. It will demonstrate the core and several jackets: The "night jacket," which is style-centric and sports flashing lights and night-mode imaging; the "street art," which has stereo speakers and dedicated music controls; the "classic," which is a simple multi-function device like a normal cellphone; and the "express," which adds a multicolored style to both the phone and its UI. 

The phone is expected to go on sale early "next quarter" for a reported "under $200" target price—and that should get you the core and two jackets.

Predicting how well the Modu will sell is nearly impossible: There's nothing out there like it. But, it may do well with the youth market thanks to its customizability and relatively low price. And it's a novel device, one that will get people talking. At the very least it demonstrates that it's possible to build a "jack of all trades, master of none" gizmo that will act as a stopgap until a fully-converged, light and very capable smartphone/cameraphone/MP3phone exists.

[via Crunchgear, Engadget]

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  • Vera Mosley

    I'm at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona this week and found this post when searching for more information about the predictions from last year. It's interesting...Modu really wanted to be on the forefront but their push for this product didn't do as well as planned. I'll have to stop by their trade show booth this week in Barcelona.