Modu, the heavily-funded Israel-based modular phone manufacturer that enables you to slip a light mobile device into a variety of so-called “jackets” (think music players, other cellphones, car stereos, digital cameras, etc.), is prepping its big commercial launch for this year by unveiling its family of phones at the upcoming Mobile World Congress. The actual sales for the device will start at the beginning of next quarter.
Modu started teasing everyone in January last year, and revealed what it had in store a month after. Crunchgear’s John Biggs dubbed it cool but flawed, but this was all way before the company ever had something to show for its promises and – meanwhile – over $85 million in venture capital funding. Well, now they do.
At the heart of the Modu ecosystem is a small modular mobile phone (the lightest one available according to the Guiness Book of World Records) that comes with complete mobile functionality but also doubles as both a music player and a mass storage device (2 GB). The modu phone boasts a seven-key keypad to perform basic functions even without a jacket, but it’s really the jackets that make the product unique.
Straight from the press release, the freshly unveiled Modu jacket line-up includes:
- Night jacket: inspired by the nightlife scene, this jacket includes futuristic styling with an edgy keypad, flashing lights, night mode imaging and a unique graphical user interface
- Street-art jacket: capturing the expressive and vibrant street art scene, this jacket fea tures stereo speak ers and dedicated music keys for a powerful music experience
- Classic jacket: designed to fit the everyday needs of a modern lifestyle, this jacket carries all essential mobile communication features with an air of elegance and fine taste
- Express jacket: this jacket transforms the modu phone and user interface with a rain bow of fun, playful flavors
More jackets will be announced in the course of this year.
The jury is still out if Modu is onto something here, but it’s refreshing to see a company in the mobile industry risk such a bold move and truly try to innovate the space. I’m curious to find out what else they’ll announce at the Mobile World Congress; they’re promising more news on “global distribution of the Modu phone and jackets, with a significant initial order; partnership agreements; new product news; and manufacturing and production capabilities”.
Modu was founded in 2007 by Dov Moran, the inventor of the USB Flash Drive (he was the founder, Chairman and CEO of M-systems, acquired by SanDisk Corp for $1.6B at the end of 2006), and you can hear him explain the product in the interview embedded below.