updated 07:55 am EST, Thu February 7, 2008
Hoping to steal the thunder from larger firms, newcomer modu has announced what it says is the first genuinely modular cellphone. Although the core device itself can work as a handset, the device is designed to be extendable and integrate with other devices. External shells, dubbed modu jackets, can change the control layout and features on the fly; owners can easily add cameras, different control interfaces, and other components without having to replace the phone itself. The feature also allows music labels such as Universal to offer artist-specific jackets that change the entire control scheme as well as the looks.
Just as important are outside devices known as modu mates that can cradle the phone, modu says. Blaupunkt and several other electronics makers plan to release audio systems, media players, and DECT (digital cordless) phones with slots that can add the phone's functionality to existing equipment. The firm also suggests that support can be added for computers and many other devices.
Based in Israel, modu believes the phone, jackets, and mates should be available by the end of 2008 with local provider Cellcom as well as Italy's TIM and Russia's VimpelCom. Whether the modu device supports the North American frequencies needed for support from AT&T or T-Mobile is unknown.
Core modu phone
Standard phone modu jacket