Motorola Unveils Music Phones, iTunes Model Still Under Wraps

Motorola this week unveiled an all-new lineup of music-capable handsets — but the long-awaited iTunes-compatible phone was nowhere to be found.

The Motorola E680i, with more than 2 GB of memory, allows users to transfer, store, catalog and enjoy their favorite tracks. The E725 model lets users wirelessly download their favorite music tracks and videos to their handsets.

The E685 features an MP3 player with stereo headset jack, VGA camera with photo and video capture, and the iRadio promises to mobilize hundreds of commercial-free Internet radio channels as well as a user’s personal music collection.

Where is iTunes?

Alberto Moriondo, worldwide director of Entertainment Solutions for Motorola’s Mobile Devices Business unit, said the company is committed to delivering premium, innovative products and technologies that help people bring their “own personal lifebeat” with them all over the world. “This isn’t technology for technology’s sake,” Moriondo said. “This is technology for music’s sake.”

Meanwhile, as the company touted its growing portfolio of converged music devices and relationships with industry leaders, the iTunes-compatible model Motorola had been expected to unveil earlier this month was conspicuously absent.

Jupiter Research wireless analyst Michael Gartenberg told TechNewsWorld that the iTunes release was the elephant-sized phone at yesterday’s unveiling that no one was talking about.

“Apple has a decidedly unique way of rolling out products and services,” Gartenberg said. “Whereas the new Motorola phones we saw yesterday may not be available for several weeks or months, Apple typically prefers to announce products hours before they go on the shelves.”

Staying Tight-Lipped

Gartenberg suspects Apple and Motorola are trying to work out details with the wireless carriers before launching a phone. If carriers don’t support the phone, then it could be a money-losing venture for Motorola. Apple, on the other hand, has little to lose in the deal, he said.

Neither Motorola nor Apple executives were immediately available to discuss the reasons for the delayed launch of the hyped up iTunes-compatible handset. Details on the coveted phone’s release remain a mystery for now.

In Gartenberg’s view, there is one aspect of the secrecy surrounding the phone that is fairly unique.

“Apple is famous for not speaking about things until they are pretty much complete,” he said. “The surprising aspect isn’t that we are not hearing more details. The surprise is that we’ve heard as much as we have already.”

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