BBC: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone design ‘feels like yesterday’s phone by UK standards’

“The Motorola Rokr mobile faces an almost impossible task. It has to live up to the hype generated by the news that Apple was getting involved in the phone business,” Alfred Hermida reports for BBC News. “At first glance, there is little to suggest that the design gurus at Apple were involved in the making of the device. The Motorola mobile is no iPhone. There is no click-wheel on the front, no hard drive to store thousands of songs and no fast connection to transfer songs from the computer. The Rokr is simply the first mobile phone which plays music via Apple’s iTunes software. This is significant in itself, as four out of five people who buy music online in the UK use the iTunes music store.”

“Transferring songs from one device to another is easy using the iTunes software, though this can take a long time,” Hermida reports. “For some reason, the phone uses USB 1.1 rather than the faster USB 2.0 to connect. This is a serious shortcoming as other music mobiles offer much shorter transfer times… Once the lengthy task of getting music on the phone is over, listening to the tunes is simplicity itself.”

Hermida reports, “Compared to other music mobiles available in the UK, the Rokr falls short. It should be able to hold more music, let you buy songs directly online and use these as ringtones. Perhaps this is the key point. By UK standards, the Rokr feels like yesterday’s phone. It may fare better in the US, where handsets have tended to be somewhat basic and lacking in the many functions taken for granted in other parts of the world.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Hands on review of Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone – September 12, 2005
Motorola ROKR iTunes-enabled mobile phone greeted with cool response – September 12, 2005
If Apple isn’t working on their own iPhone, they’re making a stupid mistake – September 12, 2005
Music phones pose no threat to Apple iPod – September 09, 2005
Does Apple need a mobile phone of its own design? – September 09, 2005
USA Today: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone provides ‘snazzy’ first impression – September 08, 2005
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. I was hoping the ROKR would be a RAZR, but with music controls on the outside of the lid. Instead it looks like the handsets the mobile companies give away for free. My two year old Nokia may not play DRM AAC, but it has everything else the ROKR has.

    I am betting that Motorola’s statement on this being the first phone of many means something less aimed at first time mobile buyers is coming. I’m not going to upgrade unless they show me a device worth having, and I think most people who already have a phone will be thinking the same.

  2. Ahh well, prolly serves Ed Zander right for making public wisecracks about how Steve Jobs wasn’t gonna be jumpin’ out of a cake during one of Zander’s recent product intro events and then immediately thereafter getting all lovey with a smirky-ass Steve Ballmer as they both stroked each other over the delights of the Motorola/Microsoft relationship.

    So .. how’s that cake lookin’ now, Ed? Did you notice anything poppin’ out of it yet?

  3. I´ll write the (typical) MDN comment:

    “Who in the hell is the BBC to say that the iTunes phone sucks??? What does BBC stand for “Brainless Brits Clueless”.
    Don´t they know that USB 1.1 is just .9 away from USB 2.0!!!
    And if Microsoft brought it out it would suck and have viruses and a terrible Microsoft OS and where is that link to Steve Balmer dancing we at MDN always use?

    Hermida reports, “Compared to other music mobiles available in the UK, the Rokr falls short.”
    Hey limey Al Hermida -the only thing that is short is thing dangling between your legs!

    MDN urges everyone to write some juvenile, stupid email to the BBC wankers about how stupid they are and that Steve Jobs and Apple are god!!! And Microsoft sucks. Viruses. Viruses. Viruses.”

  4. See, that’s the difference Randy.

    No one is saying that stuff because the BBC got it right.

    The Rokr is just not up to Apple standards and it shows.

    We only get pissed off when the ‘experts’ are wrong or when they are reading from a script prepared by Microsoft’s PR department.

  5. Al – if the phone had apple on it, you would be thumping your chest saying how wonderful it is….no matter how much it sucked.

    How about giving Apple some heat for allowing itself to get involved in a 2nd rate phone? Remember Steve cancelled the intro back in July. What for – to bring out this obsolete experiment in bad design???

  6. wtf? Does everybody slam Apple because iTunes will work on mediocre Windows boxes? Not many people do. So how come folks are getting all snitty because iTunes will work on a mediocre phone, too?

    Sheeze .. Apple oughta just put out an update to disable iTunes from functioning on that phone if everybody’s gonna keep blaming the wrong outfit for flubbing the hardware.

  7. We beat the crap out of Mighty Mouse (at least I did). The ROKR isn’t good enough for me, and I have a phone that’s more than two years old. My friend stationed in Korea has a better phone that he got for free than most of the stuff that I would pay around $200 for here. It’s sad where the US is in terms of tech on the wireless phones. A lot of it comes from the people who only see “free” and don’t see features.

    MW: Indeed. Yes indeed.

  8. Just further proof of how far behind the US mobile phone market is compared to the rest of the world.

    Yeah but you guys have been watching the same 10 people F each other for the past 50 years in either a) the general store or b) the bar, on Coronation Street..

    So we’re even.

  9. I would jump at the chance of using a cell phone that was designed by Apple. Apple understands how I think and they produce elegant solutions for the human-machine interface.

    An Apple handset offered by carriers on all major digital networks would be a phone one could live with for 3-5 years unlike the inevitably obsolete phones our carriers in North America offer us.

    An Apple phone should have Bluetooth, a 2 MP camera, iTunes (1 Gb would be fine), recharge by plugging into USB (or FireWire) and have large enough buttons for dialing embedded in the click-wheel that fat fingered people can use.

    MOST importantly.. Apple would refuse to allow carriers to cripple the phone’s bluetooth features.. Without question disabling data transfer, modem and all the other things that can be done over Bluetooth is simply stupid.

    Consumers should complain in the loudest and strongest terms that they want the FULL benefits of available technology.

    Oh… and until Apple brings out such a handset, would someone please make me a slick, tap sensitive click wheel with an embedded keypad for phone dialing that uses Bluetooth that I can easily stick on the dash or console to operate my existing phone…

    In fact.. Apple should replace the numeric keypad section on all desktop keyboards with a click wheel with an embedded numeric keypad. People are so used to using small desktop calculators now that the tactile feel of the current mechanical keypads is not as important as it once was.

    Apple.. if you like this idea, I would be happy to let you sell them royalty free under the Apple brand. I’ll take 25 cents for each unit you sub-licence to others.

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