This week an Israeli company called modu introduced a new modular phone, also called modu. The phone is smaller than a credit card, and is meant to fit into "jackets," larger, cell-phone like devices that have different core functions, from a car radio to a digital camera. The idea is that your phone can become different things without you having to buy a second phone with a separate phone number.
The idea may sound goofy, but critics are taking it seriously, in part because modu is run by Dov Moran, the inventor of the USB flash drive. Two years ago he sold his last company, msystems, to SanDisk for $1.6 billion. What do the critics think? Some want modular phones to succeed as an alternative to having to buy a new, fashionable phone every three months, while others hope it will fail in favor of better all-in-one devices. Click continue to read perspectives from around the web.
It lets people have several phones with the same number
"Major U.S. carriers have long suffered from a blindness about what people want in handsets, so I'm going to spell it out for them: People want more than one— to be able to use more than one cell phone per data plan and per phone number without being gouged… [Modu] achieves the dream of 'one wireless plan, many handsets' with its core module and varying jackets." , Computer World
All-in-one phones (like the iPhone) are more appealing
"If you have to carry a separate bag with a large screen, QWERTY keyboard, a jacket for playing music and whatever other add-ons you may need, the device becomes significantly less mobile. But if you don't carry all of your accessories, you may not have one when you need it." , CIO
Your phone gets to be a GPS unit today, honey. I'm taking the radio.
"The concept of carrying a small module with basic communications capabilities, holding your personal data so all these other devices can change personality is attractive. 'Specially since some devices could be shared with other members of your family. On the other side, it could be the dumbest, biggest flop in cellphone history." , Gizmodo
This is a good idea, even if it might turn everybody into Paris Hilton
"We see the potential for way too much glittery gem-encrusted foolishness here… [however] If we were betting types, we think modu is on to something pretty interesting here, and it seems with likes of Blaupunkt, Universal Music, and SanDisk already onboard, the Q4 launch might prove to be something special." , Engadget
modu must avoid becoming like failed start-up WildSeed: the jackets have got to be attractive
"I'm not sure that the jackets and mates that go with them are going to look really good. That part remains to be seen… This is a smart idea. I hope modu will run with it to become the Calvin Klein of electronics." , The Mercury News
modu is at the top of my 'crash and burn' list
"Modu reminds me a lot of a company called IXI Mobile, which launched in 2001 with a grandiose plan to connect various gadgets through Bluetooth. That vision did not pan out, however, and now IXI is working to sell its Ogo keyboard device in places like Taiwan and Luxembourg." , RCR Wireless News
Culture Shock Alert
"Just what we need— a drawer full of specialized jacket devices. So, I’m supposed to buy a bunch of proprietary gizmos to expand functionality? A software configurable device (iPhone) blows past this kind of thing. Look how they added geotracking without needing a hardware upgrade by accessing web services." , Techcrunch