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Transforming the Cell Phone

Modu is hoping its modular, multi-function cell phone, designed to resemble a domino, will start a cascade of innovation in consumer electronics

It was back in 2002 that Dov Moran first began grumbling to friends about the modern cell phone. Why couldn't his phone suddenly sprout a keyboard and a large display on days when he needed to respond to a lot of e-mail? Why couldn't the phone shrink into a tiny little thing when he didn't? Why couldn't it…?

Well, now it can. On Feb. 7, Moran's new company, modu, unveiled a tiny new cell phone that can work on its own or be slipped into assorted "jackets" that transform it into different types of devices. Slide it into a jacket with a 3½-inch screen, and the device turns into a media player perfect for watching movies. Slip it into an iPod-like sleeve, and modu becomes a music player with dedicated buttons and a screen for album art.