Motorola Razr: the reinvention of the flip in a foldable mobile phone – CNET

Motorola Razr: the reinvention of the flip in a foldable mobile phone – CNET

David Beckham. Paris Hilton. Bono. Everyone, everyone, in the early 2000s in possession of a Motorola Razr. With its sleek edges and metal keyboard, it stood out from the crop of the generic flip-phones and the enterprise is cool again. And it wasn’t just for the elite. In his four years, the chic, ultra-thin handset sold 130 million units on its way to one of the most popular and iconic pieces of technology ever.

Then came the Apple iPhone on the market and absolutely destroyed it, together with the memory of the so-called dumb-phones.

Now more than a decade later, Motorola, the the phone invented but are now the entanglements in the mobile obscurity, is staging a comeback with a remake of the Razr. It is the retro-clamshell design with Google’s Android software, and an innovative, foldable touch-screen combined display brings a new twist on the classic flip phone. CNET reviewer Jessica Dolcourt, after an early and extended views of the Razr., describing it as “Streamlined. Completely Plug-In Cards. Nostalgic, with a sharp futuristic edge.”


“We see it as a privilege,” Motorola President Sergio Buniac said in an interview before today’s Start.

At $1,500, the new Razr is too expensive to go after also premium phones, including the iPhone 11, and Samsung Galaxy S10. But Buniac and companies in the hope that its ability of the pack — once again — brings buzz back to Motorola and to make consumers happy foldables. 

We could jerk. Foldable mobile phones came in with massive hype and high expectations earlier this year. You should liven up in the wireless world, and represents a potential for change in how we use our mobile devices. The new category was also going to serve as a bridge to the kind of sci-fi tech we see in movies like Minority Report or shows like ” Westworld.

This is not happening. Concerns about the shelf life, exacerbated by the Samsung Galaxy wrinkles early defects and Huawei Mate X delayed start, fueled excitement. Also Motorola missed its original target of a summer sale start for the Razr. The company is now taking pre-orders as of Dec. 26, with Verizon releasing the phone in January, as a life long only in the United States. You start elsewhere next year.  

eye-popping prices do not help. The Razr is five times the price of the midtier Moto G7 mobile phone. And this is always a fold, still a bargain compared to the $1,980 Galaxy, or 2.400 $Mate-X.

in contrast to these two devices, which are positioned as the future of their respective franchises, Motorola, reached back to one of its most recognizable symbols as a way into the market for super-premium smartphones. It is in the hope that the nostalgic chords distorted it, combined with a seamless 6.2-inch display (when unfolded) and compact size (when folded), can create awareness not only for the Razr, but the larger stable of mobile phones.

Motorola, which is about 3% of the handset market, faces a tough effort. Now the company is specialized in the budget-phonit is, therefore, the price remains a question. It is unclear whether the Razr name, so beloved by an older generation of consumers that grew up on flip phones, will also register, in the majority of the younger users, that the first iPhone, such as the iconic mobile phone.

Then there’s the question of durability. 

for sure is that Motorola and parent Lenovo has big ambitions with the Razr. You have devices, a unique bet on foldable screens, so that the device is small as opposed to Samsung and Huawei, the bigger tablets.

“If the goal is to create a splash with a flip-phone that could be very effective,” says Avi Greengart, an analyst at consumer research firm tech ponential. “Anything we can do Motorola, to break to remember through the clutter and the people that you help is still desirable mobile phones only.”

Back to the future

“We did not know at the time, we were the creation of these legendary devices,” said Mike Jahnke, global, industrial designer at Motorola.


Mike Jahnke, global, industrial designer at Motorola, worked on the original and the new Razr. 

James Martin/CNET

I’m chatting with the 21-year Motorola veteran on the telephone-coffee maker-Central in the historic Merchandise Mart building in Chicago. Jahnke patterned bow tie and sweater, you pop in front of the crowd of different colored Razr phones behind him.

established As one of the designers of the original Razr, Jahnke shares stories about celebrities, the case, special variants of the flip phone. The device was taken out as a status symbol, according to Motorola, the savvy step of sliding a special black edition of the Razr in the swag bags at the 2005 Academy Awards. Shortly after every power player needs to have a-customized to your taste.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova had her own signature edition. Motorola made versions for the TV show Miami Ink and Dolce & Gabbana. Bono called for a red variant for his “Product Red” charity.

After his first run as a $600 exclusive wireless provider Cingular, Motorola’s new carrier and new variants and reduced the price. 

Motorola pulled the at the time impressive task, a flip-phone-cool and accessible.

until the year 2006, the company owned more than a fifth of the global handset market, according to Neil Shah, counterpoint Research analyst. The Razr spawned a series of imitation-thin Smartphones from rivals like Samsung and the Sanyo Katana. Motorola attempts to follow up the Razr’s success with phones like the Rizr or the Slvr, which featured a similar aesthetic. Football legend David Beckham served as the face of the Razr 2.

“had to fight All the others to catch up,” said Roger Entner, a consultant at Recon Analytics. “The copycat devices activated the Razr in a iconic device.”

But a year later, the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs published his iPhone. And Motorola’s slow and steady slide into irrelevance to began.


A new Razr of origin

The next few years, moving turned out to be, when to punish. Motorola will never be a worthy successor to the Razr, despite Beckham’s best for you. The company split the consumer handset business and the company’s radio operations into separate units (confusingly, both) to keep the Motorola name and the legendary “bat” logo. A decade ago, Motorola Mobility, the first mainstream Android phone launched, the Droid, strengthened by the massive marketing dollars from Google and Verizon. Motorola is trying to bring back the Razr with the Droid Razr. 

However, its market share and profitability slipped as Apple and Samsung’s fortunes rose, and, in the autumn of 2011, Google realized the potential of the business. Three years and even more losses later, Google Motorola’s unloading to Lenovo, known for laptops.

It was around the time that Google took the reins in the Hand that Motorola began the game with plastic as a material for the display. Most manufacturers of mobile phones used glass because it has more weight and a more premium feel. But plastic could be treated to bend and flex, and if, with a special coating, proved to be surprisingly robust.

So, despite a rich history of the landmark devices from the first mobile phone, the DynaTac, the first flip phone in the cell phones, the Droid Turbo, 2, the have provided was the key inspiration for the new Razr. 

I won’t forgive you, if it immediately jump into the eye. 

The Droid Turbo 2, in which in the year 2015 as a Verizon exclusive, is notable as the first phone to use the special hardened plastic display, which Motorola called the shatter shield. It is an impressive amount of torture came before it with a pickaxe. Later phones like the Moto Z-Force uses the technology.


Motorola and Lenovo began to think, foldable in 2015. 

James Martin/CNET

Around the same time, the engineers and designers were on the search for foldable devices and began the cooperation with their counterparts in the case of Lenovo, the Japanese unit lent his expertise in the hinge design, the Yoga laptops. The teams showed the early fruits of the endeavour to Lenovo Tech world in the year 2016, with a telephone wrapped around the wrist. The prototype is still sitting in Motorola’s design labs.

“The new Razr is a design and innovation-an icon reinvented,” Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a statement. “It is also a powerful reflection of the engineering and technology skills, exists in our company.”

Internally, Motorola went through more than 20 different prototypes, and will be left until the end of 2016, on a phone that folded in a smaller device. Motorola executives saw the similarities between the last prototype, the clamshell design of the original Razr.

suddenly the comeback was on.  


Motorola played, with many prototypes before settling on the final design. 

James Martin/CNET

“We have not directly make the Razr, but it made sense,” Ruben Castano, vice president of design at Motorola, says, as he stands on a large pile of various prototypes of the new Razrs.

The team even took a page from the original Razr design scheme pushed components in its thicker chin at the base. This time, Motorola is adding even more hardware, including antennas for 22 bands of cellular frequencies for 4G LTE – (there is no 5G connection), a fingerprint sensor, Wi-Fi radio, and GPS.

in the next two years, Motorola designers and engineers quietly worked on the project. In the year 2017, Motorola brought an early prototype to Verizon, snapped him up as an exclusive. 

“It is one of those devices that you put on the table-and it is an “eye-catcher”, said Brian Higgins, vice president of device and consumer product for Verizon Wireless. 

In January, a Wall Street Journal report outed his return, and the high price. It is the last legendary to be riding a wave of nostalgia, the following Nintendo the NES Classic and the Nokia 3310 candybar-phone.

The time was ripe. Excitement about foldable mobile phones a fever pitch after Samsung led from its Unpacked presentation with a tease for the Galaxy pocket, steal the spotlight of its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone. A few days later, Huawei blown away by the participants of the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona with a Mate to the X. of The market for these devices, which, in spite of their prices – is shaping up.

Then, after a rushed Start-up, early units make for Samsung Galaxy wrinkles began to break.


Close the gap

If Motorola had the executives freaked out about the Samsung incident, it has not, when I asked one after another about their reactions.

“I don’t see anything surprising,” Buniac says. “This is what new technology is, the solution of problems.”

Castano said of the news, assured him that his team was on the right path, because one of his early prototypes looked exactly like the folds.

But Verizon Higgins where an impact was acknowledged. “When the reports came out, I immediately went back to Motorola,” he says, and mentions he had the company all of its specification tests.

Samsung came ultimately back with a reinforced Galaxy fold, but the reputation for flip-phones had a stroke. 

What Motorola was confident the unique hinge design created for the new Razr. The ultimate goal was to create a mechanism that would allow to close the screen in. But here’s the dilemma: If you fold a sheet of plastic or paper completely flat, will inevitably come to a bend.

This is the reason why the Galaxy of folds, the folds to the inside, has a large gap in the middle. It is also the reason for this is chose, why Huawei to its position flip-up screen on the outside. By increasing the convolution radius, reduce the load on the display and the likelihood of a fold.

It was not an easy process. Early prototypes had the phone with big hinges jut out from each side, so that it would have Dumbo-like ears ruining the aesthetics.


you can see the exposed gears of the hinge on each side of the new Razr. 

James Martin/CNET

Finally, the designers were able to achieve a complete fold with what they call the ” zero-gap-hinge. As with the previous prototypes, the hinges remain on the side, but not so far. In fact, you can see, some are exposed to the gears, get an insight into the mechanics of the design, similar to a luxury watch. It is also more space for the display is bent to the inside. If you were able to view, in a cross-section of the phone when it is folded, you will see the screen curve in an intricate teardrop shape rather than a flat fold.

Tom Gitzinger, director and Principal engineer of innovation and architecture for Motorola, walked us through the various components of the Razr, noting that the ad, which featured five levels, including one made of stainless steel, was only 360 micron in thickness.

Gitzinger, went directly from University to the Motorola R&D team, 23 years ago, also said that a similar hard coating used in the shatter shield display has been added to the Razr stand display, so it might, scratches, plastic displays are prone to. But the team voted to allow back in the coating for greater flexibility.

Motorola also steel plates added behind the display on each side of the bow point, the strengthening of the display and any wrinkles, a step that Samsung took with its enhanced Galaxy Fold as a guide. 

“We have the possibilities, this could not, and consider you,” Tom Gitzinger says. 

is not Bigger is always better

in contrast to Samsung or Huawei, showed off their products at an early stage, Motorola the Razr has kept close to the vest.

Motorola had originally set the target, start the Razr in the summer. When asked about the delay, Buniac cracks, “I am Brazilian, so my summer will come in January,” before confirming that the company, its deadline is missed.

“of course, we want to quickly on the market, but we are not in a hurry, or to start desperate, so we believe now is the right time,” Buniac says./p>

About timing, the Razr stands out from the pairs of X and a Galaxy of wrinkles, because of its design, the phone allows you to go from normal size to small. Laura Joss, global director of design research, said that consumer surveys showed the conflicting tendency, people want larger displays, but not the massive devices, which are required to house them.

Motorola is positioning the Droid as the ideal compromise.

The clamshell design meant Motorola to integrate could a second -, 2.7-inch-outer “Quick View” screen, when folded, just like the original. It is designed to receive notifications, control your music and work as a selfie display, since the majority of the 16-megapixel camera is located directly below.


The Quick View screen provides easy access to notifications. 

James Martin/CNET

Jeff Snow, general manager of the innovation products at Motorola, says he often flip-open his Razr that he uses since July. Instead, he decides to triage messages and other notifications from the tiny secondary display. 

Motorola is not the only one thinking about this approach. Samsung showed off a replica of a horizontally-folding mobile phone at its annual developers conference last month. TCL showed off prototype of a foldable flip phones, while at the Mobile World Congress. 

Within a Year, flip phones is the new black could be./p>

development of nostalgia

of The original Razr design, with metal buttons, and the 10-millimeter thick chassis, it still evokes an emotional response, if you have a hold of you. It is a callback to a simpler time, when we actually have our mobile phones to make phone calls. 

It is also a reminder that Motorola was once a titan of innovation, casting the kind of massive dollars in R&D that only the likes of Apple and Google are able to do now. 

Motorola hopes the new Razr will stir some of those memories. He even got some of the small details as the satisfying sound makes the phone, when closed, snap it — to hang up on someone not so well felt in a long time. There are also a Easter egg in the form of an Android skin, to the touch screen look like the original Razr smaller display and a metallic keypad. 


The Razr is not a literal interpretation of the classic phone. But it has many of the same features as shares. 

James Martin/CNET

While the Razr brand to strike a nostalgic chord does not among older consumers, reminders may be enough to justify the $1,500 price tag.

“nostalgia can only get you so far,” says Ramon Llamas, an analyst at market research firm IDC.

note: While the NES Classic and SNES Classic hits for Nintendo, Sony’s own retro-play with the PlayStation classic was a flop. Building on our rose-colored memories no guarantee for success.

do not register The Razr brand once with younger users, with smartphones all but wiped dumb-phones out of our memories. Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies, said she would recommend that Motorola will emphasize the new design and the folding trend, rather than dwell on a past fad. 

“was The Razr is all about design,” she says. “People used to the Razr, because it was cool, not because it was great.”

Motorola says that it is not expected that the Razr to last is the average lifespan of a smartphone, but would a precise length of time. To help reassure customers, the company offers a 24-hour turnaround time on replacement if the device or the display fails, although it will not say how long the warranty lasts. 

The business was on the upswing, after they posted four quarters of profitability after years of bleeding. Nevertheless, it is being driven by the end of the year with around 3% of the market are largely from budget phones — and stresses that it is a far cry from the heavyweights Samsung and Huawei. While Buniac starting to turn his focus to business is growing, and the introduction of more premium devices, he has realistic expectations for the Razr.

“I don’t see it bullet as silver,” Buniac says. “We see it as a journey that has just begun.”

This time, the new Razr is probably not the ce lebrities lining up to nab an exclusive edition. To sell when asked if Beckham would return, with the new foldable version, Jhanke replied, “We would be happy to get him one.”

Originally published at 8:11 PM PT on Nov. 13.
Updated at 8:05 PM and 3:18 p.m. PT on Nov 14. 


Motorola hopes that the Razr name resonate with some consumers. But some analysts believe that the company should focus on the new design. 

James Martin/CNET

Released on Sat, 16 Nov 2019 04:30:00 +0000

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