Technology

The ROKR Phone

OK. I admit it. Im a tool. I had to have the new Motorola ROKR phone the day it was available in stores. So Scott picked up a couple of them and I started to play with it while finishing up some work. After configuring the phone (it was easy – the phone portion is standard Motorola GSM phone functionality) I tried to load some Podcasts on it using the new iTunes 5.0 on my OS X iMac G5. iTunes wouldn’t recognize the phone…. So, I figured – let’s try iTunes on the PC. The PC version of iTunes saw the phone right away. This is great – iTunes is an Apple product but the thing wont work on my Mac?!?!?!? After checking Software Update on the Mac I see there are no new updates. A quick check of the support forums on Apple’s site shows that alot of other people are experiencing the same problem on their Macs. So at least Im not alone. About 1/2 hour later I decide to check Software Update again – and voila – Apple has released a driver for the ROKR phone for Mac OS X. Install the driver, reboot, and iTunes 5.0 now sees the phone and I get to play with it. Some initial impressions:

  • The audio quality is pretty decent!
  • The phone makes use of it’s vibrate capability to mimic a sub-woofer. Cool!
  • The “iTunes” software on the phone is limited but acceptable
  • Why no EDGE for data? GPRS Only? This is 2005!
  • Camera is OK – but why .3MP and not 1MP or more? Again, Its 2005!
  • Battery life is amazing. I talked for a couple of hours on Friday and the indicator didn’t move.
  • RF seems excellent. I talked using my bluetooth headset while driving 20 miles in the car – no issues.
  • Tri-band (850/1800/1900)? Why not Quad-band these days?

A few more days of testing is in order. But my initial thought – if you want a decent (not state-of-the-art feature wise) Motorola GSM phone that happens to play iTunes and has good audio – this is a good phone. If you’re looking for the Apple “ambience” and iPod experience – you will be disappointed.

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