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Modu Unveils Modular, Transformer-style Phone

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the roll-your-own-phone dept.

Cellphones 88

An anonymous reader writes "A company called Modu has come up with an innovative take on a mobile phone. Instead of giving you the finished product, you get a base unit and a choice of 'sleeves', which you can plug the base unit into and turn it into a variety of devices. "If, for example, you're going out clubbing, you can pop it into a fashion sleeve with a fancy design. If you're on a business trip and you need a phone with a Qwerty keypad and large screen, you just have to pop it into a 'jacket' with those features." There's also the option to plug it into a satellite navigation device or even a car stereo. While it seems like an interesting system, I wonder whether modular devices are better than buying standalone products or all-in-one products?"

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If it allows... (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337846)

Me to have a QWERTY keyboard without having a camera (no camera phones at my job), then I'll buy one. As would a lot of my co-workers, since they aren't springing for us to all buy Blackberries.

Re:If it allows... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338350)

They list the price for this as 200 euros to 150 pounds - so about $300. That's the same cost as a Blackberry so if you or your employer won't buy one of those, you probably aren't getting one of these either.

Re:If it allows... (1)

ATMD (986401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341566)

Except that a lot of tech is very nearly dollar-for-pound. So yes if you work in the UK you might have problems, but if you're in the US it could cost as little as $150.

Re:If it allows... (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338364)

You work at the CIA or something?

Re:If it allows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22339058)

This man no longe^H^H^H^H^H^H^H never worked for the CIA. Move along.

Re:If it allows... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339506)

he doesn't have to work for the CIA.. just about every fortune 500 company doesn't allow camera's (including the ones in phones) into their R&D departments. also any company that has a unique proccess for manufacturing doesn't allow them.

when you go work for the CIA or other places with that level of information security.. you don't get to take any phone and some times you arn't even allowed to see where you are going.

Re:If it allows... (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340494)

IANASA, but I would bet that, if you're at such a clearance level that you're allowed to see "ultra super top secret, eyes only" type information, they don't care if you know where you went to look at it. I suspect that a lot of the stuff you see in movies is for dramatic purposes only. But then, how would we know?

Re:If it allows... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340742)

well i and others that i work with know.. we are out side consultants.. some times we are only cleared for X area and if we have to go through a restricted area well - and it isn't "ultra super top" it is just information that they don't want shared with either the public at large or competting companies.

Re:If it allows... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22341824)

From my previous life in a defence-industry related engineering job, I can tell you that none of us were allowed cameras or iPods. The USB ports were disabled and we weren't allowed to have thumb drives anyway (just in case). Oh yea, no wireless keyboards either. None of us were government employees. Few of us had any sort of clearance. Those that had Secret clearance had to go into a special room to view that sort of information. Nothing we did was Hollywood material, but most of it was export controlled and, of course, there was a huge concern to keep trade secrets...well, secret.

So, now you know.

Re:If it allows... (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344954)

That all sounds reasonable. I was replying to: some times you arn't even allowed to see where you are going. That conjures up visions of blindfolded agents in the back of black sedans being taken to "undisclosed locations" for receipt of classified information. That sounds like somewhat of a stretch to me.

Re:If it allows... (1)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341874)

This is becoming more common at regular employers...I work for a large bank, and in many job functions they don't allow camera phones on the production floor; basically anywhere there is proprietary or confidential info laying around, including sensitive customer information, posters with production metrics, whiteboards with strategic plans scribbled on, etc.

Re:If it allows... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22347976)

saddly enough i know of one company that doesnt' allow cameras in the production facility due to posiable OSHA violations - not that the phone would violate OSHA rules - but they don't want photo evidence of OSHA violations being sent out before they company even knows they exist, very paranoid but true.. they are worried that a disgruntaled employee would set up an area to be unsafe take the picture and then turn the company in.

It is easier for the company to disalow cameras without permission than to paranoid polecing of everyone

Re:If it allows... (1)

Scootin159 (557129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339792)

I take it you're not allowed to just get a normal phone and either 'remove' or otherwise 'disable' the camera?

Some ideas:
  • Cover lens in electrical tape (behind faceplate if applicable to keep smooth outer surface)
  • Paint lens of camera black
  • Replace faceplate with one that has either no camera 'hole'
  • Scuff lens with rough sand paper so that camera is unable to take photographs of any value

Forget QWERTY, I wanna BOOM! (1)

kjkeefe (581605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339874)

Check out the last picture:,39029453,49295452-4,00.htm []

I want one of those Boom buttons for my work keyboard. Maybe every time I hit it the whole building shudders under a big BOOM... Would be a fun way of getting rid of the loud people talking in the hallway in front of my door...

Re:If it allows... (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339902)

Why not try and get hold of a secondhand Nokia 9300? I got one and find it quite useful.

Innovation (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337850)

About the only innovation here is to call it innovation.

Sleeves for personalizing gizzmos is about as old as forever. Even God has sleeves so he can appear in different forms.

Re:Innovation (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338266)

About the only innovation here is to call it innovation.
Sleeves for personalizing gizzmos is about as old as forever.
Sleeves that provide different functionality?
Show me a phone that already does that.

Re:Innovation (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338428)

Yeah, I think grandparent missed the point. This thing lets you plug in different parts, not just cosmetic changes. Almost like plugging in peripherals to your laptop. Add a mouse, add a webcam, whatever.

Re:Innovation (1)

puto (533470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338814)

Ipaqs have had something similar for years now. You can get sleeves to do many things, even turn them into phones, plus there are Ipaq phones which you can buy sleeves. For.

And I think they have been doing it for years. I remember seeing them in 2004.

Perhaps not a phone, but ipaq for one (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339022)

ipaqs has sleeves since inception. These added GPRS, GPS, CF and other functions.

Modular systems are nothing new.

Re:Innovation (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339388)

GSM phones that use a SIM card. The phone number, and phone book reside on the SIM, and your contract is attached to the numbers on it. You can then take the SIM and use it in any handset you like.

This is just a repackaging of this concept where the core phone bit is included in the removable part, so you wouldn't need to duplicate all the radio electronics in each of your handsets.

Lots of people already have a PDA and a sleek handset that they move their SIM back and forth between.

A big advantage is that you only need one contract, rate plan, monthly payment, and can use whatever device you like.

Re:Innovation (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340062)

Lots of people already have a PDA and a sleek handset that they move their SIM back and forth between.
I'm one of those people. This idea intrigues me because I'd sure like something easier than my current method:

1. Remove smart phone from leather holster.
2. Remove smart phone batter door cover.
3. Remove smart phone battery.
4. Extract SIM from smart phone holder.
5. Replace smart phone battery.
6. Replace smart phone battery cover.
7. Replace smart phone leather holster.
8. Remove slim phone battery door cover.
9. Remove slim phone battery.
10. Flip up slim phone MiniSD holder.
11. Insert SIM into slim phone.
12. Replace slim phone MiniSD.
13. Replace slim phone battery.
14. Replace slim phone battery door cover.

And lest I forget, I need two wall chargers and two car chargers. So yeah, I'd consider buying something like this.

Re:Innovation (1)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341930)

Same here...I keep a Blackberry and Razr handy and have to swap the SIM for the purpose at hand...BB is a crap phone, but sometimes I need to check email on the road.

Re:Innovation (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340892)

It's possible to get a second-hand mobile data card for less than $15 from E-bay. You just plug it in yuour laptop with a SIM card and you are online. If you could get a hand-held PDA/PC with a PCMCIA slot you could more or less build your own mobile phone. If it had a touch sensitive LCD display, you could build your own i-Phone.

Re:Innovation (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340284)

From the looks of it, the core only provides some basic common functionality, I'm guessing the cell radio, audio in/out and a primary CPU. Everything else is tacked on via the "sleeves".

My hunch is that this thing will be clumsy, fragile and expensive. Hey, just like the iPhone that already does all those things with a cooler interface!

Re:Innovation (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340638)

Old Handsprings and their "cartridge" style gizmos

Innovation-Connections. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22338286)

I'd think that short-range wireless. bluetooth,zigbee,UWB would reduce the need for "sleeves"?

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22338318)

If you look at the article (or even read the blurb here), this is a good deal more sophisticated than "personalizing gizzmos". It's not an unprecedented concept, but it's hardly a leopard-print iPod case, either.

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22338496)

Please can someone explain to me how the mod points work? Why would anyone mod the parent insightful? Has he even read the summary let alone the article? Can we take mod points of people who are patently retarded?

I for one (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337876)

would certainly NOT want to bump into a Decepticon on the dance floor.....

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337928)

What, not even Soundwave?

Re:I for one (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338146)

Okay, maybe soundwave [] ...

Yes, they come in blue too...

Re:I for one (1)

pcgabe (712924) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340624)

would certainly NOT want to bump into a Decepticon on the dance floor.....

What, not even Soundwave?
For those new to the intarwebs, you might not have seen the Soundwave breakdancing video. []

And because these things often go uncredited for some strange reason (laziness?):

Directed and Produced by Charlie Bayliss
Co-Directed by Irfan Nathoo
Producer Mark Wilenkin
3D Modeling and Animation by Charlie Bayliss
Additional 3D Modeling by Dan Kohn
Composited and Edited by Mark Wilenkin
Music by LAZER
Studio_w and LAZER Music production
Executive Producers Mark Wilenkin and Gorgon Hagan

(I hope I spelled those names correctly, it's kind of hard to read that font)

Hi-res versions with better audio are available at Please don't rape their server.

open system? (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337980)

Anybody know if this is an open design? If there is support for third parties to develop and sell sleeves without heavy licencing limitations it might be interesting. Otherwise it will probably go the way of betamax - overtaken by cheaper, more widely supported alternatives.

Re:open system? (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338700)

Sorry, can you give me an analogy in terms of Autobots and Decepticons?

Re:open system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22358626)

Can Desepticons exchange, say, hands between them?
Can Autobots change tires between them?

so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (2, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338018)

it's a giant sim card?

isn't all that possible with moving a sim card from phone to phone?

do we really need the intermediate step? I know people who move their sim from a sleek 'heading out' to a pdaphone.

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (2, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338144)

I move my SIM card from my Treo to a tiny flip phone a lot, because the Treo is crap for talking on the phone, and the flip phone is crap for everything else.

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (1)

supertsaar (540181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22347886)

Ha ha, exactly my experience but with a pocket PC.
It's sooooo nice to have to use two hands and a stylus to make phone call, especialy while riding a bike.

Then if you actually press the thing to your ears (for blocking traffic noise etc.) you'll push one of the touchscreen buttons with your cheekbone and disconnect the call...Now that's what I call a good thorough design. Way to Go HTC !

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (3, Interesting)

ardyng (973980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338276)

Actually, it appears to be a very basic phone unit, with the transmitter, antenna, etc, built in. Think of it like a cell phone PC Card [] that can plug into a variety of host devices.

Only real difference is it seems to have a base functionality without the host.

Cool, someone actually GETS it! (2, Interesting)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341890)

Think of it like a cell phone PC Card that can plug into a variety of host devices.

I'm not sure where people got the idea that this phone-gadget was like an oversized SIM card. A SIM card is basically a low-capacity flash-memory card with keys for identity and encryption. This device is basically an entire cellphone, which I understand is functional all on its own at a basic level. The closest thing to this is the W-SIM card which is a SIM with a cellular transceiver welded to its back, but even that lacks the processing power and user-interface that could make it a phone in and of itself.

I think that you clue in even more than these Modu people do though in mentioning "cell phone PC Card". I'd LOVE to have a basic wireless phone device that was in a PC Card form factor. There are "cellular modems" already out there, but it'd be great if you had one with, say, a gig of flash, embedded processor, a 16-key dial pad, a minimal LCD display (just enough for caller ID or to see what you're dialing) and a small battery (removable if possible but not required--Apple solders in batteries on their i-things after all).

A standalone-capable "PC Card cellphone" would be quite appealing without any add-ons as a low-cost phone for basic communications--something my mum would like as all she does is place and receive phone calls. Then you could sell a "RAZR-style" dock in which you could latch your PC Card phone that consisted of a larger full-sized display, a camera and perhaps added battery capacity. The logic to drive the display and a simple camera would be relatively low-cost.

The PC Card form factor would make the possibilities very compelling--you could have this functional stand-alone phone that could slide into your laptop's PC Card slot, transforming it into a combination flash-drive and wireless modem, with the basic phone capabilities still available via a PC application (check your voicemail through your soundcard, do text messaging direct through the phone, etc). Finally, you could have an "EEE PC-style" dock, in which the PC Card phone itself was the processor (actual brains of the computer) but the dock supplied a cheap, sub-notebook form factor just like the EEE PC with similar keyboard, display, battery, extra memory, etc.

I'm surprised how the vast majority of people dismissed this "modular phone" concept right out of hand as being stupid and made redundant by SIM card technology. It ISN'T a SIM card--you'd but a SIM card INSIDE one of these things to activate it. I think the concept is very sound; it's just the proprietary form-factor that makes for a flawed execution.

(hopefully there isn't a patent on this concept--if one is filed from this point on I'd make note of this discussion thread as part of the prior-art on the idea ;-)

Re:Cool, someone actually GETS it! (1)

ardyng (973980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22345444)

I so want a modular version of this that'd plug in to my EEE PC. (Which I don't own yet, but... Soon. >;) ) I hate dragging more than one device around with me, but I think that the EEE with VOIP on it and a bluetooth headset is going to take care of 90% of my communication needs, and I may get a cheapy throwaway to forward stuff to during the few times I'm not in WIFI range either at work or at home. However, if I got one of these, I'd be very very happy. Buying more than one phone is wasteful when you can avoid duplicating the guts of the phone and just have 'booster packs' for your base cellphone. I think people aren't getting that.

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (1)

RaceCarDriver (856347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338382)

Exactly. Their idea is a new bad(probably more expensive) way to do something already possible and easy to do.

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341592)

Exactly. Their idea is a new bad(probably more expensive) way to do something already possible and easy to do.
That's the brilliance. They are practically assured a Microsoft buyout. Well, if there's any cash left over after Yahoo, that is...

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338612)

it's a giant sim card?
My thoughts exactly. A SIM card with more capacity and more functionality would be just as good. The only thing the SIM really lacks is the ability to store music and pictures. I suppose you could just use an SD card for that.

The only way I could see this being useful is because if you buy it you are stuck with proprietary technology and can't easily switch over to a different phone manufacturer. (useful for the company not the consumer)

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (4, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338854)

The two differences seem to be

1) The base device can supposedly function "stand-alone"; however, it looks like it must be a pain to use in that way. Not sure the advantage of using it stand-alone...

2) The base device brings more of the "common" functionality with it from jacket to jacket, so there's no need to buy that piece of the system over and over again.

There's an intuitive feel that (2) creates an economic advantage, and I guess for someone who would otherwise buy multiple mobile devices there might be (depending on the actual pricing, factoring in bundling -- which seems to defeat the point, but whatever). Is it cost-advantageous if I only use it with one jacket? Two? Five? How many cell-based devices do I have to "need" before this becomes economically useful to me?

That's my question, then: how much need does any given person have for a bunch of devices to which he or she can add cell phone capabilities? The car radio looking thing and the nav device might be interesting if they integrate the cell service in an interesting way, but couldn't you do the same thing wtih an inexpensive data cable to the phone (and maybe a car mounting kit, which you can easily get today)? The only particular advantage to building the devices this way (IMO) would be to leverage an already-existing deployment of Modu base units, and clearly there's not one.

As for the hand-held sleeves, like one with a larger screen and QWERTY keyboard... maybe useful, but are there trade-offs (like is the combined device bulky or otherwise clumsy when compared to a stand-alone unit)?

Then again, the fact that they lead with the example of a "stylish" cover you'd use to go clubbing probably indicates that I'm not the target audience, since I find that indescribaly stupid.

Re:so- if I unsderstand correctly-- (1)

willigan (1233934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339780)

A sim card is merely a storage device. It has no standalone functionality. A modular phone is much more versatile. I would enjoy being able to attach my phone/portable 3G modem to my car stereo. Streaming internet radio, download some podcasts, then take a handsfree phone call. I get to work eject the device and pop it in my phone. There could be all sorts of possibilities. Whether anything useful or feasible could come from this is yet to be seen. But everyone should not be so quick to dismiss this.

I already have one of these... (0, Redundant)

captnjameskirk (599714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338156)

... it's called a SIM card.

Umm.... (0, Redundant)

TMonks (866428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338216)

I think they already came out with this a long time ago. It's called a SIM Card.

I would love to have "transputer" (1)

kubusja (581677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338406)

I would love to have something like "transputer" - it would be CPU with huge memory (10GB+) and I could plug it into phone doc. paltop/GPS dock or PC dock (with extra powerful CPU) with large monitor or notebook dock. Have Linux everywhere, have similar environment everywhere ... Truly "transported computer". Same data, used in different ways...

A better model already exists (1)

czmax (939486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338470)

A core phone should be as small and sexy as possible - like the iphone or razor (in its past life). Small is good while maintaining as much functionality as possible. This is clearly the trend. On this core device various extensibility options must exist. For example larger batteries, external keyboards, handfree kits, 'bling' headsets, cool cases etc. Again this trend already exists and is being built on various dock connectors, including usb, and wireless mechanisms like bluetooth.

This Modu thing is just a gimick -- they're marketing the existing trend as 'innovative'.

Hmm (3, Funny)

sskagent (1170913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338572)'re going out clubbing....

Unless 'going clubbing' means taking a +1 Club of Awesomeness, this particular example is worthless to the /. crowd.

Re:Hmm (1)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338804)

I think there's a baby seal joke in there somewhere, but I'm not sure. :)

Re:Hmm (1)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346476)

I'd mod you funny, but I used my points up already hehe

Useability tests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22338830)

Okay, this is an interesting presentation on the idea of a modular device.

In some sense it is not as much about having a modular mobile phone as much as having a modular personal preference/identity device. Something that you can carry with you and use in a variety of different roles that can store/present your personal preferences/media/data/identity (celluar subscriber ID).

However, I would like to see some usability studies. For instance, the video presents the idea of inserting a Modu into the car stereo. Neat, but... so, I am about to go 'clubbing', so I am bringing my fancy-pants Modu sleeve along. I get into the car, and I am expected to remove the Modu and stick it into the stereo. When I get to the destination, I am expected to remember to remove the Modu from the stereo and put it back into the sleeve. Or, say, I plan to go from work to a club, so I am expected to carry around the extra sleeve that I am not using at the time? A pocket full of useless sleeves?

Neat idea, but a wireless implementation would be far superior, I think. Forcing the user to remember to swap sleeves around, remember to not accidently leave the Modu in a laptop, the car, etc. sounds ripe for a bad user experience.

Wouldn't It Be Easier... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338944)

Wouldn't it be easier to just move a SIM card to the current necessary device?

Re:Wouldn't It Be Easier... (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343798)

My sim card is under my battery, under the lid, under a really sturdy extra cover. I think this is just a bit easier.

Er... (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339076)

I already have this. It's called a SIM card. If I am going out on the town and want to have a small compact phone I put my SIM in my Razr. If I am going to work or traveling and want a PDA I put it in my HTC Wizard.

What is the benefit of this, other than the fact that they want me to likely spend as much on a "sleeve" as I do for a complete unlocked phone on eBay?

Re:Er... (4, Insightful)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341402)

Many Slashdot readers do not understand that while convenience is a sliding scale, there are important thresholds along the way that enable (or disable) certain applications. For example, what you state is entirely correct: you can swap SIM cards around different devices.

However, most people don't do that regularly, probably because you generally have to remove a battery to reveal the SIM slot and so on. The SIM is also not designed to be plugged and unplugged many times, so you may develop contact problems after a while. Finally, the SIMs that I'm familiar with can't generally store all the data (full contact information, email logs, browser bookmarks, etc.) that you want to take along with you.

So, if the idea is to switch "sleeves" daily or more than daily, then the SIM solution is just not convenient enough. Not to say this Modu phone will solve it, but no, you don't already have this.

Re:Er... (1)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346494)

Sounds like you are proposing a simcard sleeve - a simcard inserted into a simple and small package that adds a rugged connector and some flash memory that can easily be switched from phone to phone. It's actually a great idea and likely hasn't already been developed because of current vendor lock-in policies.


Ok but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22339422)

will it ever be released in the US? I like the idea but I have a feeling that we will never see if like all ther other good phones out there.

Oh, like an iPAQ sleeve? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339804)

Oh, like an iPAQ sleeve? The original Compaq iPAQs were the size of a smartphone, but had sleeves which could add a compact-flash socket, or GPS receiver, or PCMCIA slot, or dual PCMCIA slot, or dual CF slots. No reason why you couldn't have a very small cellphone, without camera, stereo speakers, flipphone, etc, and add those features via a sleeve.

Skip the sleeves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22339816)

I just need one I can slip into my shoe.

(My old one with the rotary dial is difficult to use with calling cards.)

This message will self destruct in 20 seconds.

Shiny Neato - no chance (1)

mediocubano (801656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340526)

So this is all neato and the capabilities at this point are only limited by your imagination.

The thing that will be the deal-breaker is going to be the price. Having separate pieces will drive up the costs of the subassemblies, in turn driving up the price to the end user. And the majority of the market for cellphones is based primarily on price (hey sorry, the truth is that's what the majority of people do). And with the high price will come low volume/quantities which will exacerbate the cost problem.

Just get a blackberry curve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22340664)

Does everything you want.

Small, sleek, attractive, qwerty keyboard, camera, microSD slot, plays mp3s & video, strong audited end-to-end encryption, great management tools, well-documented, lots of applications and SDKs freely available.

Admittedly, doesn't have cool ads on TV, but that's the only downside.

Key question (1)

uberphear (984901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340686)

But is it interactive-odular?

More importantly (1)

ohtani (154270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340824)

Will it blend?

Re:Key question (1)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22350058)

Dammit! I just got that song out of my head. Thanks. Really. My only recourse is to infect [] the rest of you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bang my head against the wall for a few hours.

Do it all (1)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22340884)

Cell Phones in Disguise? Decellicons, transform!

CDMA? (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341278)

Lots of people here denounce this technology because "we already have SIM cards." Therefore, no new technology must be developed? No alternative technologies in use in the world should see improvement?

CDMA phone users don't care about SIM cards. If this technology were available on a CDMA phone, I could see it catching on. Especially since there is no good way to move data between CDMA phones and no standard across manufacturers.

Looks like we're all Transformers now (3, Funny)

esper (11644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341818)

OK, so "If, for example, you're going out clubbing, you can pop it into a fashion sleeve with a fancy design. If you're on a business trip and you need a phone with a Qwerty keypad and large screen, you just have to pop it into a 'jacket' with those features." makes it a "modular, Transformer-style phone".

Does that mean that if I start out in my underwear (the "base unit") and then, if I'm going out clubbing, I put on some fashionable clothes, possibly incorporating fancy designs, then later go on a business trip wearing a suit and tie, plus maybe pop on a wristwatch for some extra functionality, does that make me a "modular, Transformer-style human"?

Re:Looks like we're all Transformers now (1)

CBMFreak (1162455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22345880)

What if they made a product that instead was a PC-Card, that would then incorporate the basis unit and also work in a varity of "sleeves" that could be produced by third party companies? Then the same pc card (with sim card) could work in devices that already have a pc card slot (with appropiate software) aswell as in laptop computers aswell as in custom phone sleeves (that should be produceable by third-party companies) for the open standard that the PC-Card should support ? That would be some tech worth using!

Re:Looks like we're all Transformers now (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22349158)

does that make me a "modular, Transformer-style human"?

No, just a geek for considering the possibility.

Ericsson did this (1)

Kloro (1024321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341870)

Ericsson did this with their line of phones in the early 2000's. You could snap on an MP3 player, keyboard, and FM radio, or a bluetooth chip. Now however, except for the keyboard and in some models, the FM radio, everything has been integrated into the phone.

Doesn't sound like Transformer-style (1)

wombert (858309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22341916)

Sounds more like the Swatch watch [] of phones, to me.

Here's the website... (1)

Joren (312641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22342226)

Modu's website [] - Featuring a 'stay tuned' footer and a promo video montage of disorienting close-ups! (click the "Modu It" button)

The article that I got the link from also has a picture of their CEO showing off the base unit: Modu to launch tiny phone 'module' []

Bluetooth? (1)

hangareighteen (31788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22342688)

Why not just have a black-box "communcations device?" Something that can sit in your pocket, purse, backpack, whatever and just offer bluetooth services to a variety of devices. Have a handset if you want one, a graphical display if that suits you, or any other device that can communicate via bluetooth to your hidden communications device? Yea, you'd need to charge everything up separately, but so what? You'd get a hell of a lot more functionality out of the modular devices. And network flexibility as well.. if you like your handset, great, you can use it with any type of blackbox (WiFi/VOIP, 3G/Cellular, the new 700Mhz bands) you want, and you just don't have to worry about portability.

At least, that's what I'd love to use.

But does it run... (1)

ObiWonKanblomi (320618) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343066)

... OS X?

allow me to state the obvious (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343958)

Get an iPhone and be done with it. Look shit.


Got one. (1)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343996)

I have one of those. It's called a SIM card.

Re:Got one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22358492)

You have a SIM card which also functions as a full cell phone device? Where did you buy it?

Wow, that article and that phone are so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22345200)


I don't even know why I check slashdot anymore. This post deserves -5 you know it.

Can You Get a Jimmy Sleeve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22345364)

you get a base unit and a choice of 'sleeves'
The question is, does it come with a jimmy sleeve for those times when you need safe cummunications?

Didn't they do this years ago? (1)

Darko8472 (966542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346174)

With interchangeable cases for Nokias?

The man behind Modu (1)

ontheroll (1211614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346478)

Is called Dov Moren [] who is the man behind, among other things, the Disk On Key.

This has been his top secret project for the past 2.5 years. I think that there are great things to expect from it (and no, I do not work at Modu).

It's the best, beats the rest! (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22346800)

Cellular, modular, interactive-odular...

This phone will be fantastic! (1)

greedyturtle (968401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22349594)

This phone will be a fantastic product, where people will be able to simply and easily link their mobile connection to all kinds of innovative products created by the community and the market! The wky is the limit!

Unless for some reason they make all the standards for building the jackets proprietary and unavailable to the public... but a cell phone company would NEVER do that!

modu demo video! (1)

moduGuy (1235672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22358412)

Here's great modu demonstration video, if you haven't seen it yet... [] It really needs to be seen to fully understand how small the device really is! Convergence is the future of mobile!
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