Having squeezed every last drop of life out of the iconic RAZR, Motorola has finally announced its update – the iTunes-equipped V3i.
There are a number of welcome improvements, most notably a new 1.23megapixel camera which replaces the ancient VGA snapper of its predecessor.
The biggest news, though, has to be the inclusion of iTunes software, which is backed up by TransFlash or MicroSD options for expandable memory.
As we mention in our current December issue's music mobiles supertest, a mobile version of Apple's market-leading software is infinitely more appealing in a phone like the V3i than the half-baked ROKR effort.
There are some caveats, though, for anyone earmarking the V3i to fill the music-phone shaped hole in their pocket. Firstly, not all handsets will have iTunes – its inclusion is dependent on your operator, with unsupported handsets instead coming with Motorola's player and having their iTunes button re-wired as a messaging key.
It's also still unclear whether the big problems of the ROKR – a 100-song cap, USB 1.1 transfer, slow-down between menus – have been transported over to the V3i. We strongly advise postponing any pre-order impulsiveness until we get our hands on a model and report our findings.
Beyond the new music and camera additions the V3i is much the same phone as its predecessor – there's a 176x220 pixel display (the outside display has been upgraded to 65,000 colours from 4096), Bluetooth and Motorola's SCREEN3 info service which automatically sends you news. You also get some USB stereo headphones, a flight mode for music listening on a plane and a claimed 7 hours talk time.
We're more happy that Motorola have left the design relatively untouched – at 14mm thick it's still one of the finest looking handsets around, although there are some strong waif-phones on the horizon in the form of NEC's L1 (previewed in our current December issue) and the forthcoming 'credit card thin' Samsung SGH-P300.
The Motorola V3i will be available in Q4 before Christmas – pricing has yet to be announced.
Update: Motorola has also just announced three new versions of the old V3 – a pink version, blue version and CDMARAZR which lets you download ringtones or video clips via, of course, CDMA. For more pictures and info check out the January edition of Stuff, out 2nd December.