Phone Scoop

printed November 26, 2015
See this page online at:

Home  ›  News  ›

CES 2008

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 First Look Comments  35  

Moto ROKR E8 Sony Ericsson  

Jan 6, 2008, 9:24 PM   by Eric Lin, Eric M. Zeman and Rich Brome   @phonescooper
updated Jan 10, 2008, 6:32 PM

Our complete coverage of CES in Las Vegas. Hands-on with Mirasol displays, plus new phones from LG, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Neonode, UTStarcom, and OpenMoko.

The ROKR E8 is Motorola's new concept for a music phone.

To hear Motorola tell it, their goal was a device that looked and worked like a phone in phone mode, but also looked and worked 100% like a dedicated music player in music mode. We've heard lines like this from a lot of companies in the past year, but it usually amounts to just a few extra side keys or a few software gimmicks. With the ROKR E8, however, Motorola has really put some new ideas and technology into this concept of a "no compromise" converged device.

(Note that parts of the keypad that appear red in the above photos are actually white in normal lighting. Our camera flash made them appear red for some reason.)

The first key innovation of the E8 is the unique "morphing" keypad that changes depending on the mode the phone is in. The basic idea is not new. The Samsung Heat and LG Venus, for example, both have contextual keys in the d-pad area that only become visible in the relevant modes.

However the E8 takes this concept to the next level by extending it to the entire keypad area. The result is a device that really could be mistaken for a standalone music player in music mode, because all of the phone keys completely disappear from surface. A special set of dedicated keys appears only for camera mode, as well.


The front of the phone is just one flat surface of glossy hard plastic. A few tactile elements have been added to help your fingers find their way, such as a small grid of bumps over the lower half, and a textured d-pad area. But otherwise the front is flatter and smoother than any other phone I can think of.

The second key innovation is the incredible haptic feedback system integrated into the keypad surface. To put it simply, it's the first true touch keypad that feels like real buttons.

All current phones on the market with touch keys and "haptic feedback" actually just vibrate the whole phone a little bit to let you know your touch registered. On the E8, however, the haptic feedback is localized so you only feel it under your finger, not the whole phone. What's more impressive is that it doesn't just vibrate a little; it actually has separate "press down" and "release" types of feedback that actually simulate the feel of pressing a physical button.

This new type of haptics really works, and quite well. The effect is best described as "spooky". It works so well that if Motorola had told us it had real keys under the surface - and wasn't a touch keypad at all - we would have believed them and never doubted it. In fact , if you treat it like a touch keypad, you'll have trouble with it. That's because it's designed to be treated like a "real" keypad; key presses only register if you press as hard as you would with physical buttons. A light touch like you might use with other touch phones won't cut it on the E8.

Another unique part of the E8 is the silver, semi-circular scroll control that surrounds the d-pad. At first you might assume it works like an iPod scroll wheel. However, in the PowerPoint presentation on this feature, they explained that it's supposed to be more like a scroll speed control, where putting your finger on the right half always scrolls forward, while the left half scrolls back, and the further from the top, the faster it scrolls.

Either of those two options might have been fine, but in fact Motorola's own presentation was wrong, because the way it actually works - as explained by the actual product managers and seen during our own hands-on time - is an extremely awkward combination of the two methods. I found it very un-intuitive and difficult to use, even with one of the engineers who worked on the project coaching me.

As the "ROKR" branding implies, the focus of this phone is definitely music. In addition to the unique keypad, you'll find a 3.5mm jack topside for use with standard music headphones, plus stereo Bluetooth for the cord-averse. There's also a generous 2 GB of built-in memory which can be expanded via the microSD slot supporting cards up to 4 GB, for up to 6 GB total for your tunes.

As for the rest of the phone, it feels small and light, but well-built. It has a great feel to it. The screen is crisp thanks to it being QVGA resolution, but it's awfully small, which is due to the puzzling landscape orientation.

Here is a video preview of the Motorola ROKR E8, where you can see the three keypad modes in action, plus a little scroll wheel action:

This article is sponsored. Sponsorship is a form of advertising. It is our promise to you - our loyal readers - that our editorial objectivity is never influenced by sponsors and/or advertisers.



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Jan 9, 2008, 10:31 AM

Info bar

those info bar phones rule!!!does anyone anything about them. Shocked
They're just for Japan. We thought someone might appreciate the phone porn, but we didn't discuss them in the article because they're not coming Stateside (that we know of).

Jan 9, 2008, 12:00 PM

Sony Ericsson W760 Release Date

Anyone know when the W760 will be available? Who will be carrying it?
I googled it and the couple sites I found said Q2 2008. To be honest I'm not even sure how reliable those sources are....
I hope this is a saving grace for Sony's part for me. I bought the 580 through Amazon, sent two of em back because of cracked...
Well at least AT&T is standing behind it!! Though I've had good luck with them standing behind what they sell with my prior locked phones. Man I must've gone thru 3 CSR's at Ericsson (mine was unlocked) and not one would admit it being a defect or co...

Jan 12, 2008, 12:53 PM

Rich, any update to this CES 2007 story?

This is from last year: ... »
Sony Ericsson's main carrier partner in the U.S. these days is Cingular, so that would be a good guess as to who will offer both phones.

Sony Ericsson is working hard on getting some phones back into T-Mobile's lineup by the end of the year. The current hangup is T-Mobile's custom software requirements like MyFaves.

I was looking on T-Mobile UK, and DE's website and they have Sony Ericsson my-Faves phones, yet no love for T-Mobile USA.

Jan 10, 2008, 2:16 PM

Samsung last min phones

How about that Samsung SGH-F490 d SPH-M800?!!
Anyone has more detail about them?!!
Nope - they're not at CES. Sad

Jan 8, 2008, 2:12 PM


I have to say that I am impressed by the Vu, I am a big LG fan and having just recently left Sprint with my Fusic and am now with AT&T, I will have to consider this as one of my choices of phone. I love the way it looks and the thinness is awsome too. I have been looking at the BB Curve for it's navigation and email access, but my primary uses of my phones has been as an MP3 player, phone, and to use for the internet access. I am curious what you think about the VU when it comes to MP3 uses?
How long have you had it when did you get it and for how much? I am always looking for reviews of the latest and greatest.
I have heard from several ATT reps that LG, GSM phones suck. They're on good on CDMA. Then again, I have VZW and LG for the past couple of phones and there are always problems.

Jan 11, 2008, 11:41 PM

VU have GPS?

Anyone know if the VU has GPS?

Jan 11, 2008, 3:29 PM


You make the point that the display had the same resolution as the iPhone. How would you compare the picture quality? I know it isnt as good as OLED's, but does it compare to most LCD's?

Jan 11, 2008, 10:14 AM

New Bluetooth headsets.

The new headsets that have displayed look awsome and I was hoping some one could inform me on were to by them at or when are they going to be released.

Jan 6, 2008, 9:52 PM

AWS 1700Mhz support please!

Please say that someone has a phone or device with AWS 1700MHz support. Even though the gov't, is holding the spectrum hostage, its nice to have a phone that can support it.
Nothing new on that front yet here at CES. AFAIK, we've already seen most of what's being announced at the show.

There are WCDMA AWS phones already being sold, of course. T-Mobile is selling the Samsung T639 and Nokia 6263, for example. I don't thi...
It turns out UTStarcom has a whole lineup of AWS phones! Smile They're pretty basic, but they will allow Cricket and MetroPCS to launch their new AWS markets this year. ... »

Jan 9, 2008, 1:10 PM

UTStarcom...Look like Sony Phones

Well i cant help but notice that the Sliding UTStarcom Phone looks so much like the Sony W580 in White, i swear if MetroPCS or Cricket picks it up everyone is going to be calling it the W580, lol anyhow just wanted to point that one out.

Jan 9, 2008, 10:13 AM


Sweet I cant wait for the neonode N2 to come state side. I know you can import it but its hard to come by. Now that looks like a great new spin on the cell phone!!

Jan 8, 2008, 5:26 PM

Sponsored by Blackberry???

Okay, so you gotta make money some how. This sponsorship doesn't lend its hands in favorable coverage in the future or even partiality? As far as doing your past phone reviews they have been fairly impartial, lets hope new avenues of income don't build roads to degrade of this site's impecable reputation.
If you missed it, be sure to read the disclaimer at the bottom of every page of the article.

We have always been impartial and unbiased, and we always will be. I give you my word.

Sponsorship is a very common form of advertising. It doesn't mean...

Jan 7, 2008, 9:05 AM

I knew it

Moto is back.

They are retiring the cash cow that is the RAZR, or at least changing it enough to warrant a revisiting.

This e8 looks hawt. I would definately drop some cash to be the first to ejoy this revolutionary phone.

I have been saving.
what does the word "hawt" mean? im sorry but is it english?

Jan 7, 2008, 7:38 PM

new os

any news on the new os (4.3) for blackberry i have been waiting for this
Page  1  of 1

Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Phone Scoop on Facebook Subscribe to Phone Scoop on YouTube Follow on Instagram


All content Copyright 2001-2015 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.