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Motorola is reported to experience unexpectedly high return rate with its ROKR handset, which was introduced in early September along with Apple Computer, according to an analyst. The ROKR phone from the world’s second largest maker of cell phones is also known as iTunes phone, as it comes with pre-loaded software which allows to listen to music acquired via Apple’s online store. The company confirms certain issues with the part.

“As many as six times more customers are returning the ROKR phones than is normal for new handsets,” said American Technology Research analyst Albert Lin, who claims he talked to distributors, retailers and call center workers at Cingular Wireless LLC, which sells the phone, reports Bloomberg.

To date, Motorola has sold 250 thousand of its iTunes phones, or 83 thousand per week. During the entire quarter the firm supplied 6.5 million of much more expensive RAZR phones, or 500 thousand a week. Motorola’s executives say that the company did not correctly advertise its ROKR phone, which is why it did not become popular. The analyst, however, claims that there is disappointment with the product in general.

“We got off to a little bit of a rough start. People were looking for an iPod and that’s not what it is. We may have missed the marketing message there,” said Motorola chief executive Ed Zander.

“There’s an overall disappointment with the product,” analyst Lin said.

It is yet unclear why customers return the phones, but in addition to a bit irrelevant marketing and the lack of certain features, there some technical issues as well, said Mr. Lin. Currently, Apple Computer’s online discussion boards about the ROKR contain a long discussion about synchronization between the iTunes software and the phone. A user of the phone claims there is a bug with at least some phones which causes the device to restart in certain cases. Another music enthusiast accuses Motorola’s iTunes phone of poor voice quality


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