Modular Cell Phones on the Horizon?

Not being on a GSM-type network, I’ve always been jealous of folks with SIM cards. It’s so easy for them to get a new phone and just plug their SIM card into the new one and off they go. Not me. I’ve got to make a trip over to the Sprint store and hope they have the right cables to transfer over my address book, and any other data stores I may have. Now, UTStarcom, a California company, is demoing what they claim is the first plug-in cellular phone module at the 3GSM Conference, which started today in Barcelona. From their press release, they say “Equivalent to the size of two SIM cards and less than 3mm thickness, MobileCard technology is designed to enable all the essential functions of a mobile phone. With this technology, a regular phone is reduced to a “shell,” which typically consists of mechanical housing, keypad, LCD, and speakers. Consumers can simply insert the module into the “shell” to have a complete phone.”

I definitely like this idea. It’s a wonder that with folks changing their cell phones as often as every year that there hasn’t been more demand for this capability. Obviously, cell phone manufacturers aren’t going to be eager to jump on board for interoperability with their competitors’ products, hoping to cling to some amount of customer loyalty (although I really don’t think this exists yet in the cell phone game), but at least they can have this within their own product lines – it probably won’t cost them much and then they *will* generate customer loyalty by default.