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Can Apple--or Motorola--deliver a truly great cell experience?

The AttentionExtension--control your digital life |


| Are CEOs naive about innovation?

October 06, 2005

Can Apple--or Motorola--deliver a truly great cell experience?

Bruce Nussbaum

Piper Jaffray has a report out saying that the new Rokr cell-- a joint venture by Motorola and Apple--appears to be selling below expectations. Why am I not surprised? This iPhone doesn't have Apple branding on it or the packaging, has an artificial 100 tunes limit built into it that is insulting and even the earbuds are off-the-shelf and not very special.

The real issues, however, is that neither Motorola nor Apple have a chance of delivering a terrific cell phone experience to users until the carriers give up their stanglehold on the ears of consumers. Naturally enough, the carriers want all the incremental service revenue that comes from music, movies, data or whatever flows through cell phones. But they're only average delivering on that. Compared to service in Europe and Asia, they're below average. The Rokr is not different.

Apple succeeds when it has total control delivering the experience. The iPod is just the friendly front face of an amazing package of services--iTunes Music Store, Apple stores, music company agreements--that make people happy getting and managing their music. It can't do that with cell phones because it can't control the different parts--yet.

Motorola is actually in the same boat. Talk to people inside Motorola and they grumble all the time about partnering with carriers who won't let them deliver what they are capable of delivering. Just one example--you can't buy a Morotola phone with bluetooth in much of the country. Maybe all of the country. It drives the folks inside Motorola nuts.

What's the solution? Apple and Motorola--and Samsung and Nokia-- should move around the big carriers and do deals with new internet telephony providers. Hmmm. My guess is that they already are.

08:05 PM


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Motorola Rokr from Hot Cell Phones

Motorola ROKR E1

Why its cool?

A cell phone with IPOD bloodline.

Features: MP3 with iTunes, Digi cam, bluetooth class 2, MPEG$ player, data capable, PC Sync., Web browser, USB port, Tri band, Polyphonic ringtones, enchanced speaker phone for surround... [Read More]

Tracked on October 13, 2005 02:45 AM

Agreed. How can a company that makes a really cool music player and a company that makes a really cool phone (the new Razr) make such a dog of a blended product? This is the jackalope of the tech world.

Posted by: Brian Murrell at October 7, 2005 07:46 AM

Uh, the carriers have very little to do with the crappiness of the ROKR. It's purely Motorola's uninspired design. The RAZR is solid, but it's about the only decently designed phone Moto has released in ages. Rest of their stuff is pretty ugly, generic, and not particularly user friendly. Apple could have the same 100-song limit and absence of a cell-connected music store and STILL deliver something more desirable.

Posted by: ds at October 7, 2005 11:36 PM

Even Motorola is aware that it's only a matter of time before Apple releases its own Smart Phone. But VERY good point on the carrier's stranglehold. Apple + Internet Telephony Providers ... now if that isn't a match made in heaven I don't know what is.

Posted by: Stephen Stetler at October 8, 2005 05:35 PM

My Razr phone from Motorola is a Bluetooth phone I believe?

Posted by: Robert McCulloch at October 11, 2005 02:30 PM

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