Today, it’s all about the iPhone. But how many of you remember the iTunes phone? The Motorola Rokr E1?
Jump over the break to check out the details and a video of Steve Jobs introducing the collaboration between Apple and Motorola…
The E1 is the first phone to be integrated with Apple Inc.’s iTunes music player. It was launched on September 7, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The phone had been widely expected, with technology sites reporting on collaborations between Motorola and Apple as far back as December 2004.
The Rokr E1 is a re-badged Motorola E398 candybar style phone (it was originally called the E790) with Apple-licensed technology to play back music purchased from the iTunes Music Store. It features a music player with an interface similar to that of Apple’s iPod music players. Since hardware on Motorola E398 and Rokr E1 phones are the same, it is possible to Crossflash Motorola Rokr E1 firmware to Motorola E398 using phone flashing software like Flash & backup.
While the phone is equipped with an upgradeable 512 MB microSD memory card (Max. usable memory 1 GB), it is restricted by its firmware to allow only 100 songs to be loaded at any time. The limit hurt the Rokr’s appeal. Many users also discovered that transferring music to the phone was slow compared to dedicated players, due to lack of support for Hi-Speed USB, and there was also no wireless transfer. The Rokr was also criticized for being too much like the preceding E398. As a result, the Rokr E1 sold below expectations despite a high-profile marketing campaign.
Relations between Motorola and Apple were also strained because the latter unveiled the iPod nano at the same time, and Motorola CEO Ed Zander later accused Apple of purposely undercutting the Rokr.
The Rokr E1 was replaced by the E2 (see below) which lacked iTunes and superseded by the iTunes enabled SLVR L7.