Friday, October 28, 2005

Jupiter: In Praise of the ROKR and What Went Wrong

Michael Gartenberg posts his thoughts on the Motorola Rokr and why the launch went wrong at the Jupiter Analyst Weblogs. Gartenberg recently got his hands on one to test and thinks "a lot of the criticism of the ROKR is off base but that doesn't mean that it will be a hit or the criticism will stop." As a phone, he thinks the Rokr is pretty good but is way overpriced. Gartenberg points out that a similar phone to the Rokr has:

a perceived value in the US of about $0. Yep, we don't pay for phones like that here, we get them for free. The value of a 512mb flash player is about $99 (issues of song limits have been a little overblown, with 512mb, I only had room for between 95-98 songs at any given time). Add in a screen and perhaps the integration of one device and perhaps there's a little more value added but not much more. Priced at $249, WITH a 2 year contract to Cingular and the ROKR is just overpriced for the US market
Gartenberg also mentioned that expectation levels weren't set properly from the start and launching at the same time as the nano, "a slim, sexy, iPod with more than 10x capacity at the same price point at the ROKR" was a losing proposition. He concludes:
Bottom line, the ROKR isn't a bad device and if you're looking for a music phone, it's head and shoulders above competing products from Sony Ericsson (who's 512mb music phone will set you back $399 and lacks all the iTunes elegance). It's also a good deal if you already own an iPod and want a complementary device for the scenarios where using an iPod isn't the best experience or you only want to carry one device. What Motorola needs to do, however, is go back and look at the marketing and strategic issues surrounding how this phone was introduced and address those issues. Next time around, it could be a home run instead of merely a single.