Posted by admin in Articles on September 8, 2005

At last, after much feverish speculation, way too much coverage, and not a little hype, Motorola and Apple finally announce the Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes phone.

Here’s the spec:

  • o.3 megapixel camera
  • 128MB memory (The New York Times puts this at about 100 tunes – but the 128MB is for the whole phone, not just the music. And most of my tunes are about 4Meg or so for decent quality, which works out at only 25 tunes)
  • No OverTheAir music downloading – you must download all tunes from your PC or Mac

I knew this phone would be underwhelming, but this is just too much! I feel a major rant coming on!

Motorola ROKR E1 Facing right
OK, where to begin? Camera first – 0.3 megapixels? Why have they even bothered? All the top phones this year are 2 megapixel, with 3 megapixels on the horizon (Sharp and Vodafone already have one coming – more on this soon); 1.3 megapixel was the norm last year; VGA was the standard in 2003!

But the camera’s not the star of this phone, the music is. So what do we have? Well, 128MB to start with. Let’s put that in perspective. 25 tunes at a quality you’d want to hear. One quarter the size of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman-branded W800i. 1/156 the size of Nokia’s N91 – yes, that’s right, the N91 will hold 156 times this many tunes!

OK, so weedy storage capabilities (which presumably explains why it only has a VGA camera), but it syncs with iTunes! Er – so what?! You download the tunes onto your PC or Mac and then upload them onto your phone. How does this differ form any other phone? For example, when I want to place some MP3 tunes onto my ol’ faithful Sony Ericsson S700i (last year’s model, remember), I download them onto my PC, and then upload them onto my S700i. I don’t currently use iTunes to do this, but the procedure would be the same if I did.
ROKR Interface
Oh, of course I don’t have the fancy iTunes interface (see left) on my phone, but (a). so what?, and (b). the S700i is last year’s model – the ROKr will be competing with this year’s models, the extremely able Sony Ericsson W800i and Nokia N91 (amongst many many others!)

I’m just speechless! The hype has gone ballistic with this announcement (check out’s trend tracker chart, below, showing how everyone’s talking about this phone – including me, dammit!), and I can’t help but feel most of it will be negative. The collective sigh of a billion underwhelmed bloggers currently haunts the blogosphere – and Motorola’s boardroom, I hope!.
ROKR Trend

One final note (I promise!) – there are still rumours flying around, this time about an even more powerful device! Give it up, fanboys! Just get any old MP3-equipped phone, paint it white, and stick an ‘iTunes’ sticker on it – sure, Apple will sue your ass, but you’ll fool all your mates (yes, both of them!)