Google was recently granted permission to purchase a patent portfolio previously held by Modu, a now defunct Israeli cell phone maker that couldn’t find a market for its minuscule mobile phones. Modu emerged in 2008 touting a peculiar modular cell phone that could be placed in a variety of sleeves to perform different functions. The unique phones, while certainly interesting, lacked mass appeal and were only picked up by a few carriers. Modu would later unveil several new tiny cell phone models as it prepared for an IPO, but the company would instead be forced to shutter its operations when it ran out of cash. Proceeds from Google’s $4.9 million IP purchase will be used to pay back Modu’s creditors and former Modu employees who are still due wages. Google is likely eyeing future Android functionality that might be made possible by its acquisition of Modu’s patent portfolio, though the company has not revealed any plans related to Modu’s former patents.


Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.