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ROKR, meet Nano

September 17, 2005

Motorola ROKR E1 with iTunes

Following up on my ongoing love affair with cellpods:

Apple and Moto recently launched the ROKR line of cellpods with ROKR E1, the world’s first iTunes enabled cellpod.

This much anticipated gadget promises basic iPod playback functionality built into an entry level but functional GSM-based, Bluetooth-enabled cellcam. On the surface this seems to be a great opportunity to converge two of the devices you might be lugging around (cell phone and MP3 player) into one smaller, svelter luggable (cellpod). Before I jumped in to buy one, however, I revisited the criteria I’m looking for from a cellpod. From my earlier “What cellpods need” post:

  1. simple external music controls
  2. reasonable music fidelity
  3. at least 1-2GB storage available for songs

Although ROKR E1 does provide an iTunes button making music access fairly straightforward and has reasonable sound quality both with the built-in speakers and provided earbuds, it fails on available storage. No matter how much flash memory one might have available in the phone, E1 is currently limited to 100 songs maximum. 100 songs maximum…I have more than 100 songs just from U2!

This seems crazy to me. Why limit the number of songs so severely? I suppose Apple and Moto are testing the ROKR waters with this first model, but with tiny dedicated music players such as the simultaneously launched iPod Nano able to store up to 4GB of music (my entire MP3 collection is under 3GB), why would I bother with ROKR E1?

My recommendation: Wait for a future ROKR model with Nano-like storage before jumping on the iTunes cellpod bandwagon. (If you just can’t wait, however, Amazon has a pretty good deal on E1 with new Cingular activation.)

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