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Thursday, June 30, 2005, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Existing Motorola handsets talking to iTunes 4.9 (image)

The first Motorola cell phone built specifically for iTunes may still be a few weeks away, but in the interim iTunes users have discovered that some of the company's existing handsets are already willing to communicate with the latest version of Apple's jukebox software.

iTunes talking to existing phones

Specifically, it appears that iTunes 4.9 is happy to recognize certain flash-memory enabled Motorola phones as an 'iPod phone." When one AppleInsider tipster connected his Motorola cellphone to his PowerBook he was taken back as iTunes 4.9 automatically launched and prompted him to provide a name for the phone.

After a name was provided, the phone registered itself in the main iTunes window below the iTunes Music Store icon, the tipster said. He was then able to transfer a number of music tracks to the phone and access the iTunes "iPod Phone" preference dialog (shown below).

Based on the preference dialog, it appears that users of an iTunes compatible phone will be able to view album art on the phone. They'll also be able to choose how much flash-memory space should be reserved for music tracks verses data.

The wait could drag on

So what's holding up the unveiling of the first official Motorola iTunes phone? It could be standard Cingular quality assurance procedures.

According to sources close to the wireless carrier, once Cingular agrees to carry a new handset it must then be manufactured specifically for the carrier. This first requires that the handset's software be tailored to Cingular's network equipment and settings — a process that could take weeks.

Next, sources say that Cingular traditionally performs a series of extensive in-house quality assurance test before allowing the phone to hit the market. Again, this process could tag on a few more weeks, sources say. Whether or not these processes have begun remains unknown.

"iTunes"


While Cingular does have plans to roll-out support for a brand new Motorola phone in the immediate future, it may not be the one some are expecting. Cingular sources say a black-skinned Motorola RAZR phone will likely precede the ROKR (iTunes) phone, if only by a matter of weeks.

Motorola recently stated that it is on track to ship its first iTunes compatible phone during the third quarter of 2005, which begins tomorrow.