INTERVIEW: Motorola on the ROKR iTunes phone

Pocket-lint.co.uk sat down with Carsten Schmidt, GM Regional Operators, Retail and Distribution Western Europe, to talk a little more about Motorola's teaming up with Apple to launch the new iTunes Mobile Phone - The Motorola ROKR, and what we can expect from Motorola in the future.

How does the Motorola ROKR differ from Sony Ericsson W800i?
It's a straightforward answer. Two strong brands are joining together to give the consumer a great offering. Motorola a leading brand in the UK, know for good quality devices and Apple, a strong brand for music, bringing those two together brings you a strong experience.

Aside from brand values, what is the unique selling point of the new phone?
The unique experience is easy of use. Just like your iPod you can transfer files via a USB to the phone and then use iTunes to organise your music collection. iPod users will also feel right at home as the interface is identical to the music player

Will you be able to transfer songs via Bluetooth?
Yes however USB will be quicker.

What operators will be taking the ROKR?
The phone will be initially available at Carphone Warehouse within the next few weeks with the focus of offering it on the 02 network first (Talking to Carphone Warehouse, a spokesperson from the PR department said that for the first two weeks it will be an 02 exclusive and free on any pay monthly contract over £20, users who preorder will also get three free iTunes tracks to start them off, they will then be offering the phone on other networks shortly afterwards). Other retail outlets will follow and by mid October you should be able to get the ROKR on any network and a variety of stores.

Why the limit of 100 songs?
Motorola believes that this is the right consumer experience. It will give you 7.5 hours of music. It is not meant to replace to iPod. Like the iPod shuffle you will be able to auto fill the device from your bigger collection.

Will there be a 3G version so you can download tracks straight to your phone?
This is the first phone in a series of phones that we will be launching over the next year. You can expect an announcement on a quarterly basis for new phones in the range. A 3G model would be the obvious progression.

Is Motorola planning to integrate the iTunes element into other phones?
You will not upgrade old phones with MP3 player compatibilities however as I've mentioned we will be launching a series of phones to tailored around music. Apple has given us the exclusive for the first product.

Does that mean you don't have the exclusive agreement with Apple for more phones?
Other manufacturers will have the opportunity to create iTunes phones if they want to. It is not just exclusive to Motorola. Our agreement with Apple is that Motorola has the first handset available.

Are you likely to create a phone that will support other download stores like Napster?
We are exploring other avenues with other partners but nothing is planned at the moment.

The new model will be out in the next couple of weeks in the UK. Prices will vary depending on contract.


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