The ROKR E8 delivered an innovative approach to the user interface challenge on a music-centric phone. The keypad section of the phone displayed different control functions depending on the application being used – a feature Motorola called “ModeShift”.
When using the device for standard phone functions a numerical keypad was displayed. For music, the numbers disappeared, and music control keys were highlighted. A similar transition occurred for the camera function (see below).
The smooth keypad surface was augmented with the use of vibration (haptic) feedback. This was a growing trend amongst “touch” devices at the time and was used in other products such as the LG Viewty and the Samsung F700. Uniquely, the E8 gave the user the sensation of vibration directly below the virtual button they pressed.
The other notable feature of the device was the “FastScroll” navigation “wheel”. This allowed users to “scroll” through music or other menu items and drew on designs used in digital music players at the time such as the Apple iPod where a scroll wheel was used for navigation.