The popularity of Apple's iPod has proven
there is a huge market for portable audio, and the natural
combination of the MP3 player with the cell phone seems only
logical. Just as manufacturers have concentrated on camera
phones in 2004, music phones are their target in 2005.
The strongest contender is the new ROKR E1 from
Motorola. Designed with Apple, the ROKR E1 comes with iTunes
music software that lets users drag and drop songs to the
Being heavily promoted by a
host of past and present music legends including Madonna, Little
Richard, Alanis Morissette, Iggy Pop, Biggie Smalls, and even
Beethoven (in a screen-first), Motorola and Apple hope the ROKR
will capture the hearts of cell phone consumers just as the iPod
did for portable audio listeners.
the Motorola E398 design, the ROKR is relatively conservative
compared to more recent fashion-forward Motorola devices.
Packaged in an unassuming white casing, the ROKR measures and
weighing just 108 x 46 x 20 mm and 107 g; roughly the size and
weight as an iPod Mini.
Positioned in front, the ROKR's 176 x 220 px
LCD screen is top notch, displaying a brilliant 262K colors for
vivid imagery. Flanked by Menu, iTunes, and Left and Right soft
keys, the 5-way directional joystick provides unmatched
versatility compared to standard keypads; allowing consumers the
freedom to quickly and comfortably navigate through music
On the sides, convenient soft keys give users
one-touch access to Voice and Camera functionality. Through
VoiceSignal technology, users can control not just calling
functions, but even menu choices, all without training.
Activating the 0.3-megapixel VGA camera lens located on the
back, consumers can capture photos at up to 640 x 480 px in
size; similar to those found on previous models.
Built-in dual speakers ensure listeners can
enjoy stereo sound without headphones, but a 2.5 mm jack is
nearby just in case. Adding a bit of fun, rhythm lights bring
the ROKR to life; interacting with ringtones creating a unique
visual effect (not operational with iTunes player).
Through a USB connection port, MP3s can be
transfer from a PC. For storing files, a TransFlash memory card
slot provides expandable storage up to 512 MB in size.
Accessories can be attached on the bottom.
Out of the box, the Motorola ROKR E1 comes
with a standard Li-Ion Battery, Travel Charger, ROKR E1 Manual
and Quick Start Guide, iTunes PC software with USB cable,
Removable microSD memory card, and stereo headset with 3.5 mm
Not much has changed in the past year with
Motorola camera phones, which is not a good thing. Featuring the
same 0.3-megapixel camera found on the V600 ages ago, the ROKR
E1 can only take photos up to 640 x 480 px in size. Rather
disappointing when other manufacturers are pushing the
2-megapixel limit and above, the ROKR's camera is only good for
multimedia messaging and photo wallpapers.
In Camera Mode, the screen becomes the
viewfinder, also displaying available memory and user settings.
Photo quality can also be adjusted between QQVGA (160 x 120 px)
and QVGA (320 x 240 px) resolutions, and the joystick controls
the 4X digital zoom (Up / Down) and brightness levels (Left /
Including a Flash, low-light
conditions are made marginally better, while the camera mirror
allows users to get into the shot. Bundled with additional
camera settings include Effects, Exposure, and Self-Timer.
For times when photos aren't enough, the ROKR
can record up to 30 seconds of video at 7.5 frames per second
(playback at 15 fps). Supporting MPEG-4, H.263, and AMR Audio
formats, sizes include Sub-QCIF 1 (88 x 72 px), Sub-QCIF 2 (128
x 96 px), and Full QCIF (176 x 144 px) resolutions.
released for Cingular Wireless, the Motorola ROKR E1 is built on
a tri-band GSM 850 / 1800 / 1900 network, allowing it to be
compatible with most GSM networks in North America, Europe, and
Asia, provided the phone unlocked. International models are
likely to come in GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900.
Including Airplane Mode for times when
wireless phone use is prohibited, travelers can still enjoy the
iTunes player and other non-calling features.
Rating the ROKR's Li-Ion battery at a whopping
9.33 hours and 230 hours of phone talk and standby times
respectively, Motorola also reports music time lasts for 15
hours using wired headset, up to 6 hours using surround sound.
However, those are under optimal conditions.
When manufacturers and carriers list talk and standby times,
they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and
often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Actual
times are lower.
Delivering an impressive 262K-colors, the
spacious 176 x 220 px resolution LCD is wonderfully bright and
clear indoors and out. Built with advanced TFT (Thin Film
Transistor) technology, refresh rates are fast and responsive.
Compared to other phones on the market, the ROKR's screen is one
of the best.