Modu to launch in three different countries in October


Modu, the mysterious modular cell phone doohickey that we told you about a couple weeks ago, “is set to announce Thursday that it will launch the phone, also called Modu, on Oct. 1 with Telecom Italia SpA in Italy, OAA Vimpel Communications in Russia and Cellcom Israel Ltd,” according to the Associated Press.

The Modu system consists of a small iPod Nano-sized module that works like a very basic cell phone and can be popped in and out of “jackets” that allow it to do bigger and better things. For instance, you can have a jacket in your car, a jacket in your office, a music playing jacket, and more.

Modu founder Dov Moran expects Modu to sell for roughly $280, which includes the main module and two jackets. This price can and likely will be subsidized by the various carriers “down to free or almost free with a two-year contract.”

What’s interesting is that the jacket concept can be approached differently depending on the country.

Modu founder Dov Moran said in an 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… The Russian carrier wants an emphasis on kids, who are the big growth market for cell phones there, so Modu is making jackets with cartoon themes for them. The Israeli carrier wanted a cell phone for soldiers, so Modu is making a rugged, green jacket with a built-in flashlight.

Other jackets could focus on music, coming with pre-loaded tunes, or have full keyboards for texting. Universal Music Group said it is looking at making jackets that center on its artists.

Moran says that Modu won’t be able to launch here in the US until 2009 at the earliest. Also, the initial Modu offering uses painfully slow GPRS data but the company is already at work on an HSDPA version so maybe that’s the version we’ll see here.

Modu to Launch Tiny Phone ‘Module’ [AP]