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Motorola launches ROKR in Italy with iTunes

To "trace the history of rock" Motorola has chosen the headquarters of one of the most important Italian radio stations to launch the ROKR model in Italy.

Motorola invited the Italian press yesterday October 4 at the Milan office of Radio 105 / Radio Monte Carlo, with a hall completely transformed for the occasion and inhabited by DJs who talk to us all day in FM.

Totem with the ROKR poster showed on a screen the functions of iTunes in Windows version connected to a real ROKR to show how to charge the phone with the songs digitized by Apple software.

The first mobile phone that has obtained a non-exclusive license from Apple for iTunes software that has arrived in Italy for a few days in stores.

It was still a first stock, not from very large numbers, that disappeared in a few hours, but the production chains are at their maximum and soon Italy will be submerged by flaming ROKR E1 (this is the full name, indeed for Motorola initially the name was E1 but then ROKR was added).

Almost everything has already been told about this MacityNet phone: we had seen it in London since day 1 and then news about our country had arrived: 299 euros at electronics and telephony retailers but still no carrier.

We learned more details on this occasion from the Italian representatives of Motorola.

We have had an explanation on the question of triband or quadband, the phone works on the four bands 850/900 / 1.800 / 1.900 MHz but the model destined for the American market operates in triband mode on the frequencies 850 / 1.800 / 1.900 MHz while the European / Asian one will work with i 900 / 1.800 / 1.900 MHz.

You can't exactly say that the ROKR, on the musical side, like an iPod but with the known limitation to 100 songs, there is more, Motorola's phone will also be the first with a double stereo box for listening without earphones, but these are able to produce music at "only" 22 KHz as well as through the headset to be hooked on the head of the phone, when an iPod (which, as we know, has no external stereo box) produces 44.1 KHz CD quality music .

The official explanation is not there but it could be a limitation wanted for not copying the music loaded in the mobile phone through the audio cable, especially the one in M4P format, or the protected one purchased from the iTunes Music Store.

The small SanDisk TransFlash card in the package together with the Motorola phone, the maximum currently available cut for the standard one, 512 MB, but included in the price there is also the SD format adapter. As known, a higher capacity card 'archiving (which does not yet exist) will not be able to contain more than 100 tracks established by an agreement that Apple requested from Motorola, to stem a possible conflict with the iPod sold by Cupertino.

A card of that type currently costs between 70 and 80 euros, the adapter around 15/20 euros, in total the only value of the two added peripherals (absolutely standard and unmodified) could reach 100 euros, which is subtracted from the excellent 299 euros of the price of the complete package of the ROKR E1 brings the cost of the phone with iTunes to only 199 euros, a price that looks absolutely good already for an ordinary GPRS phone with VGA camera.

After the "American" announcement that Motorola would sell the phone in the US only through the carrier Cingular for $ 249 plus a binding GSM phone plan for at least two years, the fear (also stimulated by some interested voices) that this phone was not sold elsewhere without a carrier it was high, but fortunately this did not happen and the price remained at a very interesting level.

We have learned that Motorola has received interest from Italian operators for this model (there are four of them, but excluding H3G, which operates only in UMTS, TIM, Vodafone and Wind remain): two of these carriers are willing to propose it in the future with their brands and telephone services.

Motorola did not want to name names but it is clear that, despite the fact that national carriers have already launched their own totally extraneous and incompatible music platform with iTunes, the success of the Apple platform on the market has been able to convince them of the advantages of offering their customers the ROKR E1 in a near future.

Since the contract of use of iTunes to Motorola is not exclusive, it is legitimate to expect that Apple will allow iTunes to be installed one day or another even with other competing brands or even produce a cell phone mixed with an iPod, as supposed by Motorola, adding in between the smiles "they won't make it on their own", The Italian branch of the Illinois home assured us that due to the technical timing, those wishing to gift a mobile phone with iTunes for Christmas will have to go exclusively to the Motorola ROKR E1.

The average life of a mobile phone model varies between 6 and 8 months, we were told by the men of Motorola Italia, before an update or a radical change occurs, having said that it should be noted that at least until the beginning of 2006 Motorola will have an almost secure exclusive from Apple.

But Motorola goes further: "next year will surely come out our new models of mobile phone with iTunes still installed", without specifying whether it is GSM or UMTS models … and, we add, with a UMTS with iTunes would begin to make sense buy and download music directly from a Music Store (Apple's one) directly into the phone.