I think it is safe to say there was severe disappointment when Motorola’s iPod phone, the ROKR, was released last week. The design didn’t resemble what many expected, which was supposed to be more iPod and less phone. For some reason Jobs and his team wanted to wash their hands of this design project, and by doing so may have slightly hurt their brand image. Nonetheless, the ROKR does offer the first cell phone to integrate iTunes, but with some drawbacks.
First off, I should mention that the iTunes portion of the phone will only play the Apple iTunes format. Put in a MP3 and the cell phone will prompt you to delete it as it is an unrecognizable format. The irony of course is that the phone itself does allow you to use MP3s as ring tones. I should say that I am not too shocked by this, because after all the incentive for Apple to place their wonderfully designed iTunes on this disgrace of a device, was to get people to shop for music from the iTunes store.
Anyway, moving on. The screen is not bad, and comes in at 262k colors. For some reason Motorola decided to use a standard camera that can only produce 640×480 pics at best. I know many people aren’t looking to purchase this phone for its camera abilities (like Sony Ericsson’s S710), but in today’s world everyone is looking for the next best convergence device. The device sports an external speaker which apparently provides decent output. No word on how much this kills the battery life, but as usual I can only imagine.
Yet another draw back to Motorola’s ROKR is how you hook the device up to your computer: USB 1.0. That’s right. No USB 2.0, so don’t expect loading times to be quick. In fact, you might wanna calendar some time out of your day, because apparently it takes 30 seconds for a 4MB song.
Fortunately, there is an option to turn the cell phone off and use the ROKR just as a portable audio device. So if you are flying, no worries there.
Don’t expect much from battery life, but according to Motorola you should get 15 hours playback of music or over 200 hours of standby time. Now someone please tell me what you get if you use one or the other, or both?
Another short coming of the device is lack of compatibility with the Edge network. Apparently they couldn’t get a stable EDGE implementation, so don’t expect to be downloading over Cingular’s high speed network on this rev of the phone.
In short, I don’t recommend this phone and in fact hope you spend you hard earned money on an iPod Nano; I know I will.