Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Orchestrating a Revved-Up ROKR

BusinessWeek writes about Motorola and Cingular's efforts to learn from the much maligned launch of the Rokr to deliver an improved music phone experience. According to the article, Motorola plans to "introduce a revamped version of the ROKR in the first quarter, updated to address the main criticisms of the first release." The handset will have "a 1 megapixel camera, a 3.5 millimeter earphone jack (same as the iPod uses), and enough storage capacity to hold 1,000 songs" in a sleek new design. It has not yet been confirmed if iTunes will be part of the package.

Commenting on the critical pannings the Rokr received and noting that the Motorola Razr sold a similar number of units in its first couple of months, Matthew Hoffman at Moors & Cabot said, "It's a little early to call it a dud. And even if it doesn't do great at Christmas, it's important for Moto to get its feet wet."

On the topic of Cingular amking over the air full-track downloads a "supplementary part of its" muisc strategy, Linda Barrabee at Yankee Group remarked, "If you can't do something different over the air and offer customers the ability to do more, what makes them pay $2.50?"

Of course, unlike Verizon and Sprint, Cingular has yet to fully roll out its 3G network in the U.S. "Cingular right now is a bit behind in terms of its network capabilities to support these kinds of applications," Barrabee added.