NYT’s Pogue: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun’

Motorola’s ROKR iTunes mobile phone’s “whole music-playing portion has been beautifully done; it’s a joy to use. When you’re ready for some tunes, you press a dedicated musical-note button – and boom, you’re looking at the familiar iPod main menu… You navigate and operate it exactly as on a real iPod. The album cover of the current song even appears on the 176-by-200-pixel color screen… [ROKR] packs a lot more power than you might expect. Battery life is excellent: one charge gives you 6 to 9 hours of talk time, 160 to 230 hours of standby time or 15 hours of music playback with the earbuds on,” David Pogue reports for The New York Times.

“The phone is loaded with other useful features. It takes above-average cellphone photos or even short video clips. You can voice-dial up to 100 numbers (that is, say “call Mom” to have it call Mom). The phone’s Bluetooth transmitter lets you use wireless headsets, although you can’t transfer music wirelessly. The built-in stereo speakers handle speakerphone calls, and also sound surprisingly good playing music when you don’t feel like using the earbuds,” Pogue reports. “In fact, the entire phone shudders in time to the music, as though driven by a gnat-size subwoofer… And speaking of good, goofy gimmicks aimed straight at the hearts of the under-25 set: you can set up the phone’s edges to pulse with colored, neon-style lights. It’s not just a random pattern; they actually blink in response to (and in sync with) sound, like the dorm room stereo’s bass.”

Pogue reports , “On the downside, the Rokr’s phone functions use the same software design as Motorola’s Razr phone, which is, ahem, not nearly as universally adored as the Razr’s physical design… If you’re looking for an iPod phone, in other words, the Rokr isn’t it; it stands no chance of living up to the hyperventilating hype of the last few weeks. But as an iTunes phone – the only one on earth that lets you carry subsets of your Apple store-bought music on errands and other short missions – the Rokr is great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun.”

Full article with much more information about the ROKR here.

Pogue also has a video report where he uses the ROKR here (Windows Media Player or Real Player required).

Related articles:
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Apple announces Motorola ROKR iTunes phone, Cingular partnership, iTunes 5 – September 07, 2005
Apple, Motorola & Cingular debut world’s first iTunes mobile phone – September 07, 2005
Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone availability dates for Europe, North America, and Asia – September 07, 2005


  1. got a point, v3 looks amazing, but the software isn’t that great inside. hopefully rokr is a lot faster the v3 as well, i liked the nano but was disapointed with roks tho, might go for sony ericson or nokia next year when it’s time to reniew my contract, quaet happ with razor in teal then.

  2. Apple just thru Moto a bone to try and patch things up after the Clone debacle of years gone by. Apple and Moto have always been bro’s but things went south when Steve killed the clones. It’s good to keep Moto happy until Apple does not need any more G4 processors AT ALL!

    The Rokr is for kids who want the whole nut in one package. That’s not bad. I’d like to see Apple do a 60gig color iPod phone with video. Now that would be a Rocker!

  3. Why the hell does Safari freeze up for a minute or more when I load crap from NYTimes? Too many bloody ads? Java? Either way, it sucks.

    Interesting review. The most telling part is the fact that the software interface sucks. Sheesh, after all these years making phones, and they still haven’t gotten it right? F*** hardware functionality – if you can’t use the freakin’ thing, what’s the point?? Software to use the device is HALF the point of building something. At least it appears that the iTunes portion works ok though. Funny that.

    Then again, look at how hard other things are to use… Windows computers (hehe had to sneak that one in), video recorders, even the humble automobile requires lots of training to learn to use it (esp. manual transmission). With this crap around me, I guess I shouldn’t wonder why a phone should be any different, but what would Bell say??

  4. Actually I am kinda warming to it. Cool that it can play music without earbuds and also I kinda like the flashing lights in time with the music. Sounds like they got the batter issue pretty well covered too.

    Of course all this is kind of moot because I am in Japan and it is not going to be released here anytime soon but I hope it does well for Apple’s sake.

    The Cingular commercials are actually really good. And they have a game like flash thing to have different characters dance to different songs on the site. You can even add your own pic for the head. The game-ish part is that chic I must confess I wasted some time on it.

    You can find the commercials etc at:

  5. Yeah, I have a RAZR and while the phone is great, the address book software stinks! Plus, you can’t you Stalling Clicker with Moto. Motorola could really improve their market share if they just cleaned up the software and BT.

  6. As of December 2004, Motorola has spun off its semiconductor business into a totally separate company [Freescale]. Because of that, I don’t believe that the ROKR is Apple throwing Motorola a bone to keep the chips coming their way.

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