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Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Phone Confirmed

 Motorola ROKR E1 Discontinued
7th September 2005

Motorola and Apple have jointly announced their first "iTunes" phone - the Motorola ROKR E1. We first reported on this handset back in May when it was called the Motorola E790, and then confirmed the existence of the ROKR last month.

Clearly derived from the Motorola E398 the Motorola ROKR appears to have no Apple branding on the case at all. In fact, except for the pretty silver and while colour scheme, the Motorola ROKR E1 is something of a disappointment to look at.

Like the E398, the Motorola ROKR has a 176x220 pixel display, stereo speakers, a VGA resolution camera, Bluetooth and TransFlash/microSD removal memory up to a maximum capacity of 512Mb. This gives the E398 a capacity of about 8 albums worth of material, which is larger than most compact MP3 players but nowhere near as good as a classic iPod.

Compared to the rival Sony Ericsson W800i "Walkman" phone, the Motorola ROKR suffers somewhat. The camera on the W800i is much better than the ROKR, and the ROKR's design looks a little tired. Still, the integrated iTunes software appears to be impressive and well thought out, but then so is the software on the Sony Ericsson. Of course, the collaboration with Apple means that this works well with both Macintoshes and PCs, and the software and interfaces should be familiar to users of the iPod and iPod Shuffle devices.

One drawback is that it appears that you can't download tracks directly from the iTunes web site to the ROKR, they have to be transferred via a PC or Mac. The ROKR is also not a 3G phone, nor does it have EDGE, so any high-speed downloads would be out of the question anyway. We had hoped for something a little more hi-tech from Apple/Motorola when it came to the iTunes phone, but there's still the rumour of a much more capable device waiting in the wings.

What is surprising is the speed that the Motorola ROKR will come to market. Motorola have announced that the handset is available from Cingular in the US right now, and then in the UK (initially through Carphone Warehouse), France, Italy, Canada (on Rogers Wireless) and Hong Kong during September, followed closely by Germany, Australia and other major Asia-Pacific markets. The ROKR should also be available in South and Central America by the end of 2005. This means that there are a lot of ROKR handsets sitting in warehouses ready to roll. Apple and Motorola have promised a very high-profile advertising campaign in order to raise public interest, featuring a number of big name music stars.

Overall, this isn't a bad device, but the Nokia N91 is really our idea of the music phone of the future. Perhaps Apple and Motorola have a nifty 3G device with a hard disk too.. we'll wait and see!

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Motorola ROKR E1 Provisional Specifications

Available:

Now - end 2005

Network:

Tri-band GSM

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

176x220 pixels, 65,000 colours

Camera:

640x480 pixels (0.3 megapixels)

Size:

Standard candy bar
108x46x21mm / 110 grams approx

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

Battery life:

7 hours talk / 10 days standby

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