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Motorola chief says iTunes phones due this week

post #1 of 19
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After much anticipation, Motorola on Thursday is expected to announce the first mobile handsets that will carry Apple's popular iTunes music software.

The company, which has been demonstrating embedded versions of the iTunes client on several prototype handsets, has caused wide-spread confusion about which model phones would be the first to officially feature Apple's iTunes. Thursday's announcement should set the record straight with a public unveiling of the phones at the CeBIT conference, a Newsweek report implies.

In the report, Motorola chief executive Ed Zander said that after selling more than a million of its new super-thin Razr phones with help from Cingular, he gave mobile phone chief Ron Garriques the green light on other ambitious design projects, like the Pebl.

The Pebl is described as a 'feminine counterpart to the masculine Razr,' which drew its inspiration from the glossy stones found on riverbanks. Company design chief Jim Wicks said future high-end Motorola phones will carry either the Razr or Pebl design signature. The iTunes phones would presumably fall under one or both of these categories.

The new iTunes phones that will launch this month will allow customers to play their existing iTunes songs, and possibly buy new ones. But a potential roadblock for Motorola and Apple may be the wireless operators like Sprint, who are interested in setting up the stores themselves. Both Zander and analysts agree that carriers will ultimately get the first shot at selling songs on phones.

Motorola executives also hint at a third design family, the Rockr, which it hopes will begin to deliver the company's vision of "seamless mobility." Zander claims that only Motorola has all the pieces of technology needed to turn phones into the center of our expanding digital lives. The Rockr, he says, might recognize songs being played in a club, let users download them to their phones and then send them home to their cable boxes and stereo.
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
The Rockr, he says, might recognize songs being played in a club, let users download them to their phones and then send them home to their cable boxes and stereo.

OMFG... That would be f*cking awesome. I just hope they are can pull this one off...
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Now running on a 20" aluminium iMac (Fall 2008), as well as a Macboook Pro 13" (mid 2009) and an iPhone.
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post #3 of 19
I may go to CeBit this Thursday or next Monday.

If I go Thuirsday I'll try and get some hi-res pics of the thing.

Then again, I think half the net will be clogged with pics of the thing so...

nevermind.
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post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
After much anticipation, Motorola on Thursday is expected to announce the first mobile handsets that will carry Apple's popular iTunes music software.

[...] But a potential roadblock for Motorola and Apple may be the wireless operators like Sprint, who are interested in setting up the stores themselves. Both Zander and analysts agree that carriers will ultimately get the first shot at selling songs on phones.

So sometime between 1-2 years from now and never is when we'll see these phones on Verizon Wireless.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Denmaru
OMFG... That would be f*cking awesome. I just hope they are can pull this one off...

It would be quite difficult. How can you tell the difference between two 5 minute "remix" versions of a song, for example?
Also, you would have to keep some kind of hash key in the phone for every song in existance, which would be a lot.
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post #6 of 19
WiFi enabled phone + iTunes sending out tags info over WiFi point = every phone can look up the info automatically, contact server at home to tell iTunes installed there to buy it from the iTMS.

Voila.

If not full WiFi, then a local radio signal w/ approved transmitter base from Motorola that plugs in through USB or some such.

Again, voila.
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My brain is hung like a HORSE!
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post #7 of 19
UMMM... did anyone find the whole razor/pebl thing creapy: now we have boys phones and girls phones...

And am I the ONLY person who absolutely hates the formfactor of the razor? I find it too wide and too thin to hold on to and the keypad sucks, I hope they make something like the V710 with these whistles and bells.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
UMMM... did anyone find the whole razor/pebl thing creapy: now we have boys phones and girls phones...

And am I the ONLY person who absolutely hates the formfactor of the razor? I find it too wide and too thin to hold on to and the keypad sucks, I hope they make something like the V710 with these whistles and bells.

Boy phones and girl phones is a good idea - if you haven't noticed, we like different stuff (ever seen a straight guy driving a yellow convertible beetle with flower petal wheels?).

I like the razor form factor, but the materials feel cheap. Make it out of a milled hunk of titanium, and I will perk up.
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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
ever seen a straight guy driving a yellow convertible beetle with flower petal wheels?.

You mean "those people" are not straight?


Disclaimer: NO offence meant, please do not take this personaly
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
UMMM... did anyone find the whole razor/pebl thing creapy: now we have boys phones and girls phones...

Usually I can guess what your, ahem, "non-standard" spellings are getting at (creapy -> creepy), but "pebl" has me lost. Pebble, as in a small stone? P.E.B.L., as in some acronym I can't fathom? Perhaps if I were more into cell phones it would be obvious to me.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Usually I can guess what your, ahem, "non-standard" spellings are getting at (creapy -> creepy), but "pebl" has me lost. Pebble, as in a small stone? P.E.B.L., as in some acronym I can't fathom? Perhaps if I were more into cell phones it would be obvious to me.

PEBL is like RAZR. moto has this four letter thing goin on. The PEBL is basically like the RAZR, but for chicks. (uh oh, here come the feminists to tell moto they're sexist!)
post #12 of 19
This better be a really nice phone with some kickass features they have kept hidden from us.. we need something new out.. Apple is getting killed in the news by idiots thinking Napster will overtake them.. Something positive needs to come out and not just because my stock is crashing!!

But that helps
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
It would be quite difficult. How can you tell the difference between two 5 minute "remix" versions of a song, for example?
Also, you would have to keep some kind of hash key in the phone for every song in existance, which would be a lot.

This has been available for a while in the UK:

http://www.shazamentertainment.com/press_we_usa.shtml

Currently it can ID songs and then sell you the corresponding ring-tone. Not a giant leap to automatically buying it from itunes as well.

Not actually tried it myself but it's supposed to be pretty accurate.
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a flirt with mediocrity comes with heavy penalty
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by webavatar
Something positive needs to come out and not just because my stock is crashing!!

ya you're a poor man who just doubled his shares in the company
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by ipodandimac
ya you're a poor man who just doubled his shares in the company

It has lost almost 10% since the split.

Of course, you know that doubling your shares in a company means squat when the share price is halved. I'd hope so, at least.

Do you ever post anything positive?
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post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
Boy phones and girl phones is a good idea - if you haven't noticed, we like different stuff (ever seen a straight guy driving a yellow convertible beetle with flower petal wheels?).

I like the razor form factor, but the materials feel cheap. Make it out of a milled hunk of titanium, and I will perk up.

True, but automakers don't exactly sell male and female versions of their products. As you just implied, a yellow convertible beelte with flower petal wheels is a unisex product, and you simply called the men who drive them homosexuals.
post #17 of 19
Wanna bet?

It's not labeled as 'male' or 'female', but specific models and accessory kits are geared towards both genders.

The Japanese electronics and appliances market has had 'girl' and 'boy' versions of almost every product you can think of, for decades. Heck, you can buy 'guy' waffle irons that are sleek and black, or 'girl' waffle irons that are rounded and pink. Same guts, different shells, and they demographically sell very well in their markets. This isn't really anything new.
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post #18 of 19
AS POSTED IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE:

Motorola iTunes plans on hold
Delay tied to power of wireless carriers

By Mike Hughlett
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 10, 2005


Motorola Inc. was set to unveil on Thursday its first iTunes phone--a much-anticipated model capable of playing music bought from a popular Apple Computer Web site.

But the Schaumburg cell phone manufacturer canceled at the last minute. And the reason speaks volumes about the balance of power between cell phone-makers and phone service providers, a balance increasingly tilted toward the latter, analysts say.

Motorola had previewed the iTunes phone to the media earlier this week, with the intent of publicly announcing it Thursday. Then the company got a last-minute message from a wireless carrier or carriers, and indefinitely postponed the announcement--a highly unusual occurrence.

Why would a wireless carrier have such sway with the world's second-largest cell phone-maker? Because of the unique structure of the industry: Wireless carriers--particularly in the U.S.--buy phones and then often subsidize their cost to consumers.

Motorola and competitors Nokia and Sony Ericsson have all launched major forays into music, hoping music-playing phones will boom in sales like camera phones.

Motorola's initiative--first announced last summer--has gotten the most buzz due to its link with Apple, creator of the wildly successful iPod music player and the popular iTunes music site.

The iTunes phone that was to debut Thursday has a display screen akin to the iPod. It is capable of holding up to 100 songs, depending on how much a buyer wants to pay for memory cards, a Motorola executive said earlier this week.

At the top end of song storage, the first iTunes phone has about the same capacity as one variation of Apple's new iPod Shuffle MP3 player. The first iTunes phone also has a stereo headset jack and is enabled with Bluetooth, a wireless technology.

The phone is supposed to hit the market this summer. But Motorola had planned to unveil it Thursday in conjunction with the start of CeBIT, a big technology and electronics tradeshow in Hanover, Germany.

The company killed the unveiling after discussions late Tuesday night with "our operators," said Monica Rohleder, a Motorola spokeswoman.

Motorola discussed "the logistics of this product with our carriers across the globe," she said. The result: "We decided to wait to announce it when everybody is in sync with it."

The announcement will come when the phone gets closer to hitting the market, Rohleder said.

Motorola hasn't said which wireless operator or operators will carry the iTunes phone. Analysts speculated the phone would be launched in Europe since it was being announced there.

If Motorola does a European launch, UK-based Vodafone would be a prime candidate to carry it there, analysts said. Vodafone is Europe's largest carrier and one of Motorola's biggest cell phone customers. Vodafone couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment.

So does the aborted iTunes unveiling mark the return of the glitch-prone Motorola of 2003, when production woes forced the company to miss a crucial holiday season launch for its camera phones?

No, said John Jackson, a wireless analyst at The Yankee Group, a Boston telecom research outfit. "I don't think this is the case of a product not being ready to come to market," he said.

Does the unveiling demonstrate the power of wireless carriers? "Absolutely," said Neil Strother, a wireless analyst in Seattle with market research firm In-Stat MDR.

"You don't want to make your customer mad," Strother said. "If the customer is not ready, then Motorola has to say we're not either."

In the United States, carriers have always had an upper hand over manufacturers, he said. That's because consumers have been more likely here than in Europe to choose phones based on the service plan they buy from a Cingular or Verizon.

Those operators, in turn, buy phones from Motorola and other manufacturers and subsidize their cost to consumers, often giving away lower-end phones to people who sign up for their plans.

But carriers are increasingly exerting more power in Europe, too, Strother and other analysts say.

In fact, carriers everywhere are gaining more leverage, said David Linsalata, an analyst at Massachusetts-based IDC, a tech research firm. They are asking for and getting more say in the specific features of phones.

Each carrier wants to differentiate its service from the other, and phone features are a way to do so. The addition of services beyond voice--games, ring tones, data transmission and now music--potentially gives carriers even more say.

Each of those services can be a revenue generator for the wireless carrier. Download a snippet of popular song for a ring tone, for example, and you pay a fee. Thus, carriers' wishes must be taken into account in designing such features.

"The more (carriers) can control, the more they feel they can provide a better experience," Linsalata said.
post #19 of 19
thanks for posting 5 day old article
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