Modu to Launch Half a Phone

Here’s a new one. The Associated Press is reporting that an Israeli startup called Modu has convinced wireless carriers in three countries to try a new concept: a tiny cell phone that pops into interchangeable “jackets” to become a bigger phone – or into other gadgets to connect them to the Internet.

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The company will launch the phone, also called Modu – which makes it the Modu Modu – on October 1st in Russia, Italy, and Israel.

The Modu is about the size of the 1.5-ounce iPod Nano, according to the report. By itself, it has a tiny screen and keypad, so it’s really a whole phone already. But the real point is to add a “jacket” to it that comes with a full size keypad, a camera, and other features. The jackets don’t have the wireless radios in them, however—you pop the Modu into a jacket and turn the whole thing into a normal cell phone. Sort of.

Modu founder Dov Moran said in an AP interview that the Italian carrier is excited about the concept because it can make cell phones more like fashion, tempting consumer to update their looks every few months and allowing them to have “summer collections” and “winter collections.”

“The carriers really are interested in having more and more customers coming through their stores, rather than signing up and coming every two years to sign a new contract and get a new phone,” said Daniel Amir, a chip analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco, in the article.

The company posted a teaser video of the Modu Modu.

Modu to Launch Tiny Phone ‘Module’ [AP via 1010 WINS]