Remember Modu? The Israeli company that year after year showed off their concept of making a teeny tiny mobile phone that then docks into bulky cases that give said phone additional capabilities such as a QWERTY keyboard or high quality camera? We called them out on their bullshit many times in the past, and when they finally went out of business we broke out the sparkling wine in the office. Last month we reported that Google placed a $2 million bid on their patent portfolio. Today we’re finding out that Google has successfully acquired the patents, but they had to fork over a little more than double what they initially offered; $4.7 million total. What’s the search engine firm going to do with these patents? Tough to say since we don’t know what patents have changed hands, but if we had to take a bet, we’d say we’re going to see Modu technology inside future versions of Android.
One day we wouldn’t be surprised to see our mobile phone plugging into a whole host of different devices, from cars to home automation systems and especially into a dock that then allows us to connect a large monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Whether anything Modu patented actually enables that, we don’t know since they never actually shipped anything, but we hope that the Google engineers are working on something that allows our smartphone to be the only actual computing device we need. Now we just have to worry about how operators are going to limit the capabilities of devices so they get a cut out of every service you try using. If Modu had taken off they would have effectively killed the SIM and handset subsidies in one swoop since people would keep their dinky little phone and just plug it into something more powerful.
We highly doubt Google is going to pursue that same strategy.