Motorola ROKR debuts as first iTunes phone

Apple, Motorola and Cingular Wireless on Wednesday unveiled the Motorola ROKR, the first cell phone equipped with a version of Apple’s iTunes software. The phone lets users transfer up to 100 songs from iTunes to their phone using a USB cable, and it’s available at at Cingular’s Web site and, beginning Thursday, through its retail locations a well.

The Motorola ROKR features a color display that can be used to view album art while songs are playing. It also touts built-in stereo speakers, and comes with stereo headphones that also work as a mobile headset with microphone. If you’re listening to music and a call comes in, the ROKR automatically pauses. You can also listen to songs when you’re using the ROKR’s other features, such as text messaging or taking photos.

At a special event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described the ROKR as “an iPod shuffle on your phone,” referring to Apple’s diminutive flash-based MP3 player that can store about 100 songs — the same capacity as the ROKR.

The ROKR is compatible with Macs and PCs. Tethered to a computer through a USB interface, the Motorola ROKR is recognized by iTunes. Users can copy playlists to the ROKR, randomly autofill or manually fill the phone with their favorite music, audiobooks and podcasts, including songs ripped from CDs and music purchased through Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

The Motorola ROKR costs US$249.99 with a two-year commitment to Cingular Wireless. The phone is an exclusive through Cingular, according to Jobs.

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