Motorola: Apple smart phone 'only a matter of time'

Motorola’s CEO Ed Zander fueled industry speculation in an interview on Thursday with CNET News.com that Apple would release its own smart phone. Motorola on Friday also said that disparaging comments made earlier this week about Apple’s iPod nano were “taken out of context.”

Many industry analysts have said that Apple should develop its own smart phone. Speculation within the Macintosh community about an Apple branded phone have persisted for several years, but in its first foray into the mobile market, Apple instead chose to partner with Motorola.

“And we know that they are going to build a smart phone — it’s only a matter of time,” said Zander.

The iTunes compatible Motorola Rokr was announced at a special event hosted by Apple in San Francisco, Calif. on September 7, 2005. However, since its introduction reviews of the device throughout the press have been mixed.

Earlier this week, Zander was reported to have made disparaging comments about Apple’s iPod nano — comments some believed to be in response to frustration that the iPod nano upstaged the introduction of the Rokr.

“Screw the nano,” said Zander. “What the hell does the nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs? People are going to want devices that do more than just play music, something that can be seen in many other countries with more advanced mobile phone networks and savvy users,” he said.

However, while not denying the comments were made, Motorola has said they were taken out of context.

“Motorola has a great partnership with Apple,” said Motorola in a statement provided to MacCentral. “Unfortunately, Ed Zander’s comments made at a conference in San Diego on Friday were taken out of context. During the Q&A session, one questioner repeatedly asked what Zander thought of the Nano. Jokingly, Zander said he wasn’t there to talk about the Nano — but to talk about the next big thing happening in the industry - the fusion of the phone and music. ROKR with iTunes was a good beginning, he said, and there’s more to come.”

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