ROKR – Harsh Words

PRing tangible consumer gadget stuff is great, people can pick it up and play with it. They are more likely to ‘get’ what it does. Its not abstract or concept driven like web services or software applications. So it is really unusual to wish that you weren’t PRing a device, at worst it usually gets is media indifference.

The vehement reaction of Engadget readers to the offer of a free giveaway of a Motorola ROKR handset surprised me, not even poorly received products like the Palm IIIc or the Hewlett Packard HP-150 got that kind of reaction.

According to reviews across the web the device has a number of shortcomings:

  • You can’t charge the battery while the phone is synching tracks
  • The device can only hold 100 tracks
  • It looks like an already well established Motorola model
  • Sync with iTunes is slow
  • It is harder to use than an iPod (but then what isn’t?)

But its not all bad:

  • Speakers and headphones considered good
  • It is a competent cell phone
  • Price is reasonably competitive with a cell phone contract
  • It has an improved screen

Slate has got a good analysis of why the device has managed to provoke that kind of reaction.

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