USA Today: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone provides ‘snazzy’ first impression

On Wednesday, “Apple, along with partners Cingular Wireless and Motorola, launched ROKR E1, the first mobile phone with Apple’s hugely popular iTunes software built in. It was regarded as the worst-kept secret in technology. My quick first impression is it’s a snazzy device. But as with all cell phones, its value will meet its truest test over time,” Edward C. Baig reports for USA Today.

“The 3.8-ounce candy-bar-shaped ROKR bears little resemblance to any iPod models. It is not white. There is no click wheel. The Motorola and Cingular logos are prominent, but Apple’s is nowhere to be seen,” Baig writes. “The most obvious giveaway of the phone’s iTunes roots is a key with a musical note situated just to the left and above a tiny navigational joystick. Press that key, and Apple’s iTunes software loads on the phone. You can use the joystick to easily move through the main iTunes menu (showing play lists, artists, albums and songs). You can also randomly shuffle the order of the tunes you play back. You must already have or install the latest version of iTunes on a PC or Macintosh. It’s through the software that you can buy and download 99-cent songs from the iTunes Music Store and create play lists. Or you can copy your own CDs.”

“When I connected ROKR via USB to my iBook, a window appeared on the computer screen. I was given the option to automatically have the software randomly select 100 songs from my iTunes library of more than 3,000 to transfer to the phone. I was able to have the software choose songs I had rated more highly. Unfortunately, my Mac froze during this process,” Baig reports. “I was pleased with the way songs on the device played. For a relatively small device, ROKR has two external surround-sound speakers that are fairly robust. The phone reverberates as it plays back songs. If available, you can peek at album art as the music plays… By selecting ‘airline mode,’ you can listen to music with the phone off during a flight… The companies have hinted that better music phones are coming. You’ll have to read tea leaves to try to sniff out the details.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
NYT’s Pogue: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun’ – September 08, 2005
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. Note to MDN: When quoting consecutive paragraphs from a single source, quotation marks are repeated only at the beginning of each paragraph, and closed (only once) at the end of the last paragraph. Thus a quote should look something like this:
    So and so said: “blah blah blah. Notice no closing quote.

    “More blah blah blah on a new paragraph. Still no closing quote.

    “Even more blah blah blah on yet another new paragraph. End of quotation, so we put a closing quote here.”

    And now for news from around the world…

    Another Note to MDN: Your CMS supports real typographical curly quotes: “ ” (Option-[ and Shift-Option-[, or Shift-{ ). The so-called straight quotes ” are actually not quotation marks at all, but rather designations for feet or degree-seconds.

  2. I’m glad this thing is finally out so people will shut up about it. My hope is that iTunes will end up on lots of phones eventually, but I really couldn’t be less excited about this. Thank Jobs for the nano and iTunes 5.

  3. Those of you who don’t like the looks of the ROKR should google Rockola. The ROKR looks very much like the 40’s – 50’s era bubbler Rockola Jukebox.

    Whoever designed it wanted it to look like an old fashioned upright jukebox.

    I like it’s looks.

  4. I assume that like most other cell phones, this Motorola/Cingular/Apple version of the ROKR uses a cripppled version of Bluetooth, with no OBEX support for data syncing to a PC. The USA Today report mentioned is the second reference I’ve read about USB connectivity being used to sync the phone to iTunes. If true, it appears that Apple and Motorola had to cave in to cell phone company demands that Bluetooth be crippled, and it would be very disappointing.

  5. The phone is retarded. It should be renamed Rtrd.

    That is why Apple doesn’t want their logo on it.

    Even if you do like the looks… who cares. So it’s a phone that plays music. Big deal.

    I have to plug a goddamn usb cord into a Bluetooth cellular freaking phone to get songs on to it? Motorola sucks.

    Lame as hell.

  6. The lack of full-function Bluetooth is the biggest turn off to me. I’m sticking with the SE 710a for my October purchase. I was hoping for something cool from SprintNextel, but nothing has happened worth paying attention to. The Tréo is cool and all, but I don’t want to spend $500 on a phone when I already have a Palm. Silly companies.

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