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Motorola's new and improved Rokr

Motorola's new and improved Rokr

Back in September when Motorola finally announced its Rokr E1--a.k.a. the long-awaited iTunes phone--the response from the tech world, CNET included, was lackluster. Although the design was unimpressive and the digital camera was only VGA, our main beefs were with the music player. Sure, the compatibility with iTunes was a big plus, but song memory was limited to just 100 tracks, you couldn't download songs wirelessly, and you couldn't use Bluetooth to listen to music.

Those restrictions begged the question of exactly whose idea it was to impose them. Was it Motorola perhaps, or was it Apple? Or could we blame it on Cingular, which is the Rokr E1's carrier? Well, whatever the reason, Motorola appears to have picked up on the negative press with its new Rokr E2. And it should be noted that Apple iTunes compatibility is a carrier option this time around. The Rokr E2 improves upon its predecessor in a number of ways. Thanks to an SD card slot (that can accommodate cards up to 2GB), there's an ample 500-song limit, you can listen to music using Bluetooth headphones, and there's a 1.3-megapixel camera. Plus, this time around, you get an FM radio, a feature curiously absent on the Rokr E1. The Rokr E2 also comes with support for Motorola's new Screen3 technology. On the downside, you still have to connect to a computer via a USB cable to download music, and the design is just slightly more stylish, with the addition of a black model. The GSM phone uses a Linux-based OS and has a promised debut in the first half of this year. The carrier has yet to be announced.