Apple, Motorola Launch ROKR Phone

As expected, Apple and Motorola on Wednesday unveiled the long-awaited iTunes phone at an exclusive event at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The phone, dubbed the "ROKR E1," will launch exclusively today with Cingular in the United States and with various operators worldwide throughout the rest of the month.

The ROKR can only hold about 100 songs, Jobs told attendees, which would be transferred via USB to the phone.

"The way we think of this phone is, it's really an iPod shuffle on your phone," Jobs said. The key difference between the Shuffle and the ROKR, however, is the fact that the phone has a display that will function much in the same way the current iPods do.

The phone will also include a camera and video recording capabilities, as well as stereo speakers and a headset jack to listen to music. One button access will be available to launch iTunes, and the user will be able to shuffle songs much like the iPod Shuffle.

Music will automatically pause for incoming calls, Jobs explained.

Motorola will at least initially produce the ROKR as a quad-band GSM phone, a move most likely aimed at making it available to the widest possible audience. No announcement was made as to whether a CDMA version on the phone would be introduced.

The two companies will also launch large advertising campaigns to support the phone's launch. Madonna as well as other musicians will be featured in upcoming commercials set in a phone booth in the desert. Cingular will launch three commercials of its own and a billboard campaign featuring the ROKR.

"There have been a lot of rumors about this product, but today, the talk ends and the music begins," said Ralph de la Vega, Cingular's Chief Operating Officer. "You're going to get your songs on your phone, anywhere you want them, any time you want them, with the world's best music service, brought to you by Motorola and Cingular."

The ROKR E1 will retail for $249.99 with a 2-year contract.

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