Off your ROKR?

Back in the dark days before the video-playing iPod and the slinky iPod Nano, the inhabitants of tech-land were sure that one gadget would rule this C

Back in the dark days before the video-playing iPod and the slinky iPod Nano, the inhabitants of tech-land were sure that one gadget would rule this Christmas: the iTunes mobile phone. But when the much-delayed phone arrived, reaction was muted – and its launch was eclipsed by the birth of the Nano.

That didn’t stop Motorola investing heavily in an advertising campaign that features a constellation of music stars from Madonna to Little Richard. And the investment paid off, with nearly a quarter of a million phones sold in its first three weeks on sale.

But Bloombergis reporting that many customers are unhappy with the phone, which can store up to 100 songs on its 512MB memory card. In America, return rates for the ROKR are up to six times the normal rate for new handsets, according to American Technology Research.

Motorola’s CEO Ed Zander admits 'we got off to little a bit of a rought start. People were looking for an iPod and that’s not what it is. We maybe missed the marketing message there.'

But Motorola aren’t the only ones with iPod problems. Apple’s iPod Nano has proved immensely successful, selling over a million units in the first two weeks of sale – but, as we previously reported, some users have had problems with the screen snapping. Many more have been disappointed with how easily the finish scratches.

Now Apple is facing litigation from an irate Nano owner, Jason Tomczak, who claims in legal papers filed in San Jose on 19th  October, that Nanos “scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen… unreadable". The papers allege that the plastic coating on the Nano is thinner than on other iPods, making it more susceptible to damage – a claim Apple denied some weeks ago.

Our black Nano certainly scratched easily, but so did our old iPod – you just couldn’t see it as easily because it was white. And, proportionally, the scratches were smaller. So, with some trepidation, we followed instructions on how to remove scratches using a mild abrasive such as Brasso. It worked pretty well, but we’d stop short of advising you to do the same – a better option is to buy a pack of Nano Tube covers, which are now finally available on a high street near you.

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