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Motorola ROKR E8

7th January 2008

Some phones struggle to find a unique selling proposition - something that differentiates it in the market from everything else. The Motorola ROKR E8 is not one of those phones - because the ROKR E8 comes with a very snazzy dynamic keypad that changes depending on which feature you are using.

 Motorola ROKR E8

If you are using it as a phone, then the ROKR E8 shows a conventional numeric keypad - if you're using the camera, then it shows camera controls, and for multimedia playback the ROKR E8 shows music keys. Motorola calls this technology ModeShift and in the case of the E8 is is combined with a speed sensitive "FastScroll" navigation wheel, which makes it easy for users to scroll through media libraries or menu options.

 ROKR E8 The virtual keypad is enhanced with Motorola's haptics technology - pressing the keys actually does result in some physical reaction, even though they're completely flat and motionless. When switched off, the ROKR E8's keypad is totally blank.

Motorola aren't saying exactly how the ROKR E8's ModeShift keypad works - looking at the positioning of the virtual keys, it does appear to be a logical extension of the fixed hidden controls that we first saw on the LG Chocolate, with each button in a unique position. This makes more sense than the expensive Optimus Maximus approach where everything is an individual active display.

Get past the clever keypad, and the Motorola ROKR E8 turns out to be a pretty capable multimedia phone. It can play back MP3, MIDI, AAC, WMA, WAV, AMR and RealAudio music formats, comes with 2GB of internal memory (expandable to 4GB with a microSD card) and it has a landscape format (wide) 2" 320 x 240 pixel display for video playback. The ROKR E8 can also be used with a variety of wired and wireless headsets and speakers. There's an FM radio too.

Somewhat disappointingly, there's no SDHC support for high-capacity memory cards, the camera is a basic 2 megapixel affair with no autofocus or flash and the ROKR E8 lacks 3G or WiFi. Of all these shortcomings, the memory is probably the most significant - 2GB or 4GB is less than even the Apple iPod Nano.

Motorola say that the ROKR E8 will be available during Q1 2008, although no pricing information is currently available.

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Motorola ROKR E8 at a glance


Q1 2008


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900




320x240 pixels, 262k colours


2 megapixels


Large monoblock
115 x 53 x 11mm / 100 grams



Memory card:








Battery life:

Not specified


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