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MWC 2008: modu Unveils Tiny Modular Phone

Revolutionary or vapourware?

We’re into the last day of this year’s Mobile World Congress and while it has been frantic knockers could argue it’s been short on genuine innovation. Until now…

Breaking with virtually every established mobile phone protocol to date is modu which has announced a handset it not only claims is the smallest and lightest (42.2g – so ”just”) ever made, but also the world’s first truly ‘modular’ phone.

What modu means by this is that while the handset itself contains core calling functionality, it can also be fitted inside ‘jackets’ Russian-doll-style to provide it with additional functionality such as a camera, larger screen, GPS and so forth. It can also be slipped into third party add-peripherals like compatible digital photo frames and car stereos. In sum, the overriding argument is this way consumers only pay for what they want and they’ll always have a handset that is easily upgradeable.

Blaupunkt, Universal Music and SanDisk have already jumped on the concept and modu believes it can have a retail version on the market by Q4.

Impressed? You may well be and many sites around the web certainly are, but I’m ”not” and I’m calling “Bullsh1t”. Quite frankly phones are small enough and already come jam packed with functionality out of the box (take the W880i for example at 71g which Sandra described as “too thin for its own good”), they can snap pictures, record videos, seamlessly pair with Bluetooth car kits and stereos and yes, even Bluetooth enabled digital photo frames.

So quite WHY anyone would want to strip all this away is beyond me. If you don’t need a digital camera DON’T use it, if you don’t want GPS DON’T use it, but at least it’s there if you do and these days most phones come virtually free on any decent monthly contract.

Let’s take a real world example: you’re going on holiday so whereas previously you’d pack your phone and its charger, here you’d pack the phone, its charger and the four or five large jackets you may or may not need for additional functions. Out on a day trip and snapping pictures before using the GPS to guide you home? Hope you brought the right jackets… what a faff! And the final nail in this concept: with a jacket on it’s the same size as a regular mobile!

Kudos to SanDisk, Universal Music and Blaupunkt for backing a brave idea – but I’m certain history will also prove it to be a stupid one…

modo mobile

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