modu: World’s lightest phone underpins new multimedia platform
March 26, 2008 The diminutive modu has taken the title of "World's lightest mobile phone" with the 40.1 g (1.41 oz) handset's claim made official by the Guinness World Records. Although it's a great talking point, the record is secondary to the innovation offered by the multi-tasking phone that will launch in Q4 this year. As the name suggests, modu is designed as a modular device that will be complemented by a range of "ecosystem partners" - interchangeable add-on enclosures that transform the appearance and user interface of the phone and contain pre-loaded content, as well as dedicated consumer electronics devices such as MP4 players, digital photo frames, car stereos and cameras that directly integrate the modu.
With a footprint smaller than a credit card - 72.1 mm (2.8 inches) x 37.6 mm (1.4 inches)- and just 7.8 mm (0.3 inches) thin, the handset is a fully-functional standalone mobile phone offering Bluetooth connectivity, music playback and a built-in 1GB memory that doubles as a mass storage device. A bit like a SIM card with a brain, this forms the basic building block in a wide ranging personal communications and entertainment system offered by the "jacket" enclosures and compatible devices or "mates"... and that's where it gets interesting. Jackets on offer will include the PDA-like "modu executive" which offers a QWERTY keyboard and email access, the wearable "skin" necklace or "sport" arm strap and several options that allow you to change your phone fashion and functionality with the convenience of using a single device at the core. "Mates" will include a GPS enabled module for bicycles, digital photo frames and cameras that load content directly from the modu and a twin-slot "car mate" incorporating hands-free talking, voice activated dialing and MP3 playback. Check out the catalogue at the modu site to see the full range of possibilities.
Officially launched at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona last month, the modu is the brainchild of technology innovator and entrepreneur Dov Moran. The company is partnering with several mobile network operators including Telecom Italia’s mobile division TIM, BeeLine (VimpelCom) of Russia and Cellcom in Israel, along with multimedia hardware and content specialists like Universal Music Group, Texas instruments and Blaupunkt to bring the project to fruition. “The mobile phone industry is ready for a revamp", says Moran. “There are hundreds of handset models on the market: the trouble is that as a consumer you can only have one at a time and you are usually tied to a long and expensive contract. modu is challenging that with a solution that offers freedom, boundless possibilities and the opportunity to change your phone without it costing a fortune.”
Pricing is expected to be around the 200 Euro mark for the modu and two jackets. It will be interesting to see the impact of this new take on the mobile companion as it comes to market - stay tuned for more details.