Motorola later this year will start shipping a version of its Razr mobile phone with the iTunes music software.
The model at first glance might be just another attempt at launching a mobile phone with a media player, it is actually a 180-degree turn around for Motorola after the Rokr failed to excite.
The Rokr tried to cash in on the iPod hype by launching a music player that happened to be a phone. It failed because it's a lousy music player and an over-priced phone. The Rokr caps off the number of songs it holds at 100 and costs $249 from Cingular – and then you're stuck with a 2-year contract. At that price, you're better off buying an iPod Shuffle or Nano and a cheap basic mobile. At least O2 in the UK understood things better and makes it available free of charge with a 1-year contract.
The Razr however is a great mobile phone that now will also feature a music player - in that order. The model already is the number one selling mobile in the US and Motorola in the past quarter sold a cool 6.5 million of them.
The move indicates that Motorola no longer expects consumers to buy its phones just because they have the iTunes software. The Rokr doesn't need iTunes to become a success, it can only make it an even larger success.
Now if Apple will only get rid of the artificial and needless cap on the number of songs that the phone will hold, consumers can simply buy a high capacity memory chip, plug it in their phones and get rid of their iPods altogether. (I suspect that's exactly the reason why Apple put the cap in place)
The challenge with convergence is in the marketing. A iTunes mobile phone didn't really work out. The Razr will show if consumers are ready for a Mobile phone with iTunes instead.
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