The quantity and variety of cell phones and other wireless devices has literally exploded in recent years. Small, big; smart, dumb; serious, fun; expensive, cheap; complex, simple; heavy, light; large screen, tiny screen; black, pink; you pick. But once you've picked, you're stuck with it. If you carry a useful multifunction smartphone during the day between office and meetings, you're stuck with the same bulky and heavy smartphone at night when you go out to a cocktail or on weekends when you go hike or ski.
I've been wondering for some time if there wasn't a way to modularize the cell phone so that it can be a smartphone during the day, and become a smaller phone at night, without the need to swap devices and still having access to your address book, your calendar, your music. (I've discussed some of this in chapter 8 of my book "Roam").
Now an Israeli startup may have found the answer: Modu has developed a tiny and sleek cell phone module (photo at right) that contains all the essential functions, such as connectivity (radio), identification (SIM), address book and calendar etc (memory), plus a basic screen and keyboard -- and which can slid into a variety of "jackets" that give it the desired form and shape, and additional functionalities: large screen, full keyboard, music player, GPS navigator, stylish design, office software applications, kids' phone, etc. It takes a couple of seconds for the jacket to recognize the module and activate, and then it looks and feels -- and functions -- like a single device.
Jackets can be switched at will to adapt the device to your upcoming activity, or just to your mood of the moment (the only limiting factor being evidently their cost -- these are electronic devices, not just skins).
Here is a 50-seconds video showing some of the possible jackets:
And here (also about 50 sec) is Modu's teaser: one day with the Modu:
I don't know how much of it is still just prototype (probably most of it) and how close it is to be market-ready (will look into it in the coming weeks), but it's a very smart and disruptive approach.