The new phone, the SLVR L7, is a thin non-folding phone, styled similarly to Motorola’s best-selling RAZR clamshell phone. Cingular is selling it for $199.99 US with a two-year contract.
The first phone that allowed owners to transfer music from their computer’s ITunes library, the Motorola ROKR E1, launched in September.
“It kind of came out of the chute with some real flaws in it,” said Neil Strother, wireless analyst at research firm In-Stat. “I wouldn’t say it was a complete disaster but they clearly had some real problems.”
Strother estimates that 84,000 ROKRs were sold last year, compared to tens of millions of RAZRs. Chief among reviewer complaints was that the ROKR would hold at most 100 ITunes songs, regardless of memory capacity, and that transferring songs took too long.
The SLVR L7 doesn’t address those issues: it has the same storage limitation for ITunes files and uses the same USB technology to connect to the computer. It lacks some of the music-oriented features of the ROKR, like external stereo speakers and a dedicated headphone jack. Instead, the headphones plug into the charging jack via an adapter.
“The L7 is really in what we call our ‘self-expression portfolio,’ where design and style is the key premise behind the product,” said Steve Lalla, vice-president and general manager for mass-market products at Motorola.
The SLVR has already been on sale overseas, but without ITunes.
A second version of the ROKR is expect this year, with a faster transfer speed. However, it is not yet clear if it will feature ITunes or another music service.
Also Tuesday, T-Mobile USA became the first carrier to sell another new Motorola design, a small egg-shaped clamshell phone called PEBL. It sells for $299.99 with a one-year contract.