Universal Music Starts Skinning, Ponders Mobile Modules

What’s wrong with today’s cell phones?

According to ambitious startup Modu, the answer is that they simply stay the same – day in, and day out.  “There are hundreds of handset models on the market; the trouble is that as a consumer you can only have one at a time and you’re usually tied to a long and expensive contract,” explained Modu founder Dov Moran.

As an alternative, the Modu structure enables users to customize their phones with “jackets,” an approach that allows a phone to reflect individual personalities and moods.  Modu starts with a stripped-down device, the basis for a customized experience.  That spells opportunity for media companies trying to crack the finicky youth market, including Universal Music Group.

Just recently, Universal started exploring the creation of artist-specific jackets, possibly for delivery by the end of this year.  But the jackets themselves are more than just cosmetic covers.  According to the pair, the jackets will contain design aspects inspired by the artist, but they will also include pre-loaded content and even music subscription offerings.  That is part of a broader Modu customization agenda, one that includes an ecosystem of compatible consumer electronics add-ons.