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Why I won’t be buying an iTunes phone

This article from The Guardian pretty much echoes my feeling on the new Motorola ROKR, the much ballyhooed and uber-hyped “iTunes phone.”

Why won’t I be buying one?

  1. It can only fit 100 songs – and that’s a programmed limitation, not a technical one. I suppose they just didn’t want the Rokr eating into iPod sales. But I would have gladly paid $500 for one of these things if it could truly function as both devices and I could have some pocket space back. (My current Nokia cost $199, and so did my iPod… in my mind, they just left $100 on the table.)
  2. It can’t download songs straight to the phone – you have to download them on your computer and then transfer them over. Again, there’s no real technological reason for this. I can download ringtones directly to my phone. Again, the logic appears to be the fear of cannibalization of existing revenues from computers. But again, I look at it as money left on the table. I think of songs I want when I’m at concerts, or talking with friends, or listening to the radio in the car. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat in front of my computer at home, browsing through iTunes and racking my brain trying to remember what songs I had been telling myself not to forget about just a few hours before. iTunes was such a revolutionary new product because it greatly reduced location as a barrier to sales. Since I didn’t have to take the effort to cart myself up to the store, it eliminated laziness as an excuse for not buying music, since I could do it from home. If they had incorporated purchase capabilities into the Rokr, it would’ve eliminated the location barrier almost entirely. I’m positive I would have spent more money on iTunes if they hadn’t been so afraid of including this feature.
  3. You can’t use your iTunes as ringtones. Again, there’s no technological reasoning for this shortcoming. Speculation is that this was done to appease the mobile operators, who currently make a buttload of money off of their crappy ringtones.

You combine these things together, and what do you really have? Basically you have the exact same phone I have now, but with a really crappy iPod that I would never use built in.

Congratulations Apple and Motorola. You just lost a $249 sale. And it could’ve been $500. (Not to mention lost iTunes revenue…) Too bad. I was really looking forward to this.