Modu: A Mobile Phone with Many Faces

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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 at Mobile World Congress. Sadly, there are no immediate plans for a U.S. launch, but it is slated to debut through carriers in Israel and the Philippines this spring.

Created by the company of the same name, the Modu phone looks like 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 the Guinness World Records book as the world's lightest cell phone.

But the folks at Modu (the company) hope that you won't just buy the phone itself. When it ships this spring, it will be accompanied by four "jackets" -- skin-like shells that you can drop the phone into to change its whole look and feel, including the screen. They're pictured below -- from left to right, the Modu Classic (a slider phone with a large screen); the Modu NIght (which adds a camera to the phone); 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).

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

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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