Modu 1 modular phone hits UK, touchscreen Modu T to come: Android Modu-like?

The Modu 1, the world's smallest mobile phone, is finally bringing its wacky modular 'jacket' concept to the UK. Could a touchscreen modular Android phone be next?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

We're fickle followers of fashion here at Crave, and we find it seriously tiresome that most mobile phones give you so little choice of design. Black or white for the iPhone 4? Where's the individuality, darling? Where's the expression of personal creativity? We have a real soft spot, then, for the Modu 1, a long-awaited modular mobile now finally arriving in the UK.

The Modu 1 is a tiny phone unit that slots into different cases, or 'jackets'. These have different looks and designs to suit your personality, and even offer different interfaces and features.

Modu came to our attention over two years ago, when we tried out the swappable jacket concept for the first time. The credit card-sized Modu 1 is currently available in Israel, the Philippines, Romania, and other places that didn't make it to the World Cup. Now we'll finally be able to buy the phone in Blighty, along with the series of jackets shown off at Mobile World Congress over a year ago. These include the Night Jacket, which adds a 3-megapixel camera to the Modu 1.

Other hardware options include a digital picture frame that docks and charges your Modu, and a sports armband. Modu whispers it's in talks with some big-name manufacturers to make more hardware. We'd like to see cameras, tablet PCs and other devices that would benefit from having a phone unit slot in and connect them to the Web. We won't hold our breath though.

Meanwhile, a second-generation modular mobile is on the way. The Modu T touchscreen phone, pictured left, is scheduled to arrive in the last quarter of 2010. Modu is keeping tight-lipped on details of the model T: we know it will have Edge and 3.5G Internet connection, but Modu wouldn't even tell us if it has Wi-Fi or not. There was even more mystery surrounding the operating system that will power the phone -- the current model has a proprietary OS, but the T will have something else.

With Modu hinting at apps for the T, could we see the first modular Android phone? Combine Google's open-source platform with a modular phone, and what do you get? Modruid, anyone?

The Modu 1 will be exclusively available from purelygadgets.co.uk for £130. Jackets start at £20, and discounted bundles will be available that could net you a free jacket. Let us know what you think of the modular concept in the comments: does the jacket fit, or should Modu jacket in?