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Modu phone: The evolution of exchangeable covers

The Modu phone is like a Lego brick you can stick on to many other devices. If the features won't come to the phone, the phone will go to the features

We were recently contacted by a PR man so excited by what he was going to tell us, we actually thought he was going to pass out. But as he managed to string a few sentences together we realised what he was so excited by -- the Modu phone.

It might not look like much, but it's a very interesting concept with masses of potential. Better yet, it's not just a concept, this thing really exists and will be out later this year. So why are we so excited by a tiny phone with a strange looking keypad?

Think of this phone as a SIM or memory card. Imagine you could turn it into a multitude of different phones or devices, without needing to pay as much for those devices as you would if they were standalone products -- sounds interesting, right?

On its own, the Modu phone might not have a standard keypad, but it will still make calls. Put it into a 'sleeve' or 'jacket' (which are essentially cases) and you can turn it into a multitude of different devices.

If, for example, you're going out clubbing, you can pop it into a fashion sleeve with a fancy design. If you're on a business trip and you need a phone with a Qwerty keypad and large screen, you just have to pop it into a 'jacket' with those features.

The idea is that when you buy the Modu phone, you'll get a range of two or three sleeves with it and therefore you're essentially getting three phones for the price of one. If you need extra sleeves you'll be able to buy them for €40-€60 (£30-£45) depending on functionality.

The Modu phone will be available from the 1 October in Israel, Italy and Russia to start with, and it'll cost €200 (£150) unsubsidised with two jackets. According to Modu, there'll be around ten jackets to choose from.

Turning the Modu phone into other phones isn't as far as this device can go. Have a look at the next few pages to see what we're talking about. -Andrew Lim

Update: We got our hands on the Modu phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Click here for photos of the Modu phone in person.

This concept sees the Modu inserted into a sat-nav, which can still make calls. It's a neat idea, but we wonder whether or not it's better than having GPS already in the phone.

We're not sure whether this concept is about getting music into your car or turning your car stereo system into a hands-free solution -- either way, we're keen to find out at the Mobile World Congress next week, where Modu will explain in more depth what the phone will be able do.

This we assume is a concept music phone that comes with stereo speakers.

If it means you can have more devices for less money, and interchange between the ones you need most in certain environments, we think Modu is on to a real winner.

The real test will be whether the modular pieces are comparable to their standalone competitors. There's bound to be some trade-off in performance for the versatility and low price, but there's simply no point if the 'jackets' don't function at a reasonable standard.

Update: We got our hands on the Modu phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Click here for photos of the Modu phone in person.