Modu: A Mobile Phone With Many Faces

How would you like a mobile phone that can be svelte and spare one day, and larger and full-featured the next? That's the concept behind Modu, one of the more innovative handsets introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Regrettably, its creators have no immediate plans for a United States launch, but it is slated to debut through carriers in Israel and the Philippines this spring.

Modu base unit
Created by the company of the same name, the Modu phone resembles a small MP3 player, with a screen the size of a postage stamp and very basic controls. It's so small that it's in Guinness World Records as the world's lightest cell phone.

But the folks at Modu (the company) hope that you won't buy just the phone itself. When the device ships this spring, it will be accompanied on the market by four "jackets"--skin-like shells that you can drop the phone into to change its whole look and feel, including the screen. From left to right below, the looks consist of the Modu Classic (a slider phone with a large screen), the Modu Night (which adds a camera to the device), the Modu base unit, the Modu Express (which gives the phone a colorful, whimsical look), and the Modu Street-Art (a candy-bar handset with a large screen).

Modu jackets
Here's a video showing how easy it is to switch jackets on the phone; Modu officials say you can make the change while you're in the middle of a phone call.

Modu on a jogger armband
Modu's possibilities seem endless: On display at the company's hospitality tent were prototypes for a music phone (with JBL speakers), a bike phone, a phone with a car mount, and a phone on an armband for joggers (shown here).

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