(Bloomberg) – Motorola re-launches the iconic Razr Flip Phone as a 6.2-inch foldable display that gives the Lenovo brand a unique selling proposition to Apple Inc. and the best of Samsung Electronics Co.
The new device takes the name Motorola Razr and looks like a modernized version of the original. It will cost $ 1,499 and is pre-orderable in Europe from December and available exclusively from Verizon in the US before it will be retailed in January. For Lenovo Group Ltd., which accounts for just a tiny fraction of the global smartphone market, it is an effort to increase brand awareness in the US through a Halo device.
Launched in late 2004 in the US, the first Razr became a cultural icon selling 130 million units and was the face of the phone industry before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. Motorola's new model is also known as it will be the first real foldable phone on the market – any other device so far. Better to call it a foldable tablet – and company executives have told Bloomberg that they are confident that they will Design does not fall victim to the durability issues that hindered the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The Razr of 2019 is not a bargain. However, compared to the Galaxy Fold worth $ 1,980 or the Huawei Technologies Co. Mate X worth $ 2,600, it is the cheapest member of the most expensive modern phone category. The compromise that users have to make with the Razr is in some of its specifications: it has a small 2.510 mAh battery and the older Android 9 Pie operating system on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 710 sub-flagship chip. It lacks the 5G option and plenty of memory of its rivals. Apart from the US and Europe, it is also available for sale in Latin America, Asia and Australia.
Motorola President Sergio Buniac said he does not see the launch as a "miracle cure" for boosting Motorola sales to Apple and Samsung numbers. In recent quarters, Motorola has switched its mobile business in many markets from an emerging unit of Chinese Lenovo to profitability. The new Razr should continue this even without strong sales. Buniac hopes for "a bit more" demand than supply, while Lenovo plant manager Gianfranco Lanci said, "It will give the brand more attention, especially in key markets like North America." Design is clearly different from the first batch of foldable devices. Instead of a vertical hinge that opens and closes like a book, the new Razr opens and closes like a classic flip phone. The phone is about half the size of an iPhone 11 Pro Max, and Motorola uses folding technology to make one of the most portable phones on the market. The phone is closed again to end calls, which most premium smartphone customers have not done for at least ten years.
Samsung plans to launch its own square folding phone as the second Galaxy Fold device early next year. Until then, Motorola seems to be on its own with a normal smartphone that turns into a bag-friendly flip phone.
"We would not put the product on the market if we did not believe it was done. Buniac said, underscoring Motorola's conviction of the reliability of his special hinge and hemming design. The Samsung Galaxy Fold had problems with air bubbles that appeared under the display and tiny particles that accumulated under the screen. Buniac said in a so-called zero-gap design: "We expect to have a reliable product, and as you'll see shortly, we're confident in what we've achieved."
Razr tested and looked the handset impressive. The screen felt fragile, but device design boss Ruben Castano said, "We feel we've really developed a rugged solution," pointing to stainless steel textured panels between the underside of the inner screen and the interior of the device , He says that a layer prevents particles like sand from getting into the electronics of the device and damaging the display. There is also a 2.7-inch touch screen for quick access to frequently used functions and for checking notifications.
Similar to Samsung, Motorola offers a 24-hour replacement under a standard screen failure warranty. If the warranty expires in the US, a fee of $ 299 will be charged. The phone will be distributed through Verizon Wireless as the exclusive carrier in the US and will be available from Verizon and Walmart stores from January.
The interior display of the Razr convinced with a high-resolution panel, whose kink was more subtle than that on the Galaxy Fold. When unfolded, the Razr works like most other Android phones and has a full-screen touchscreen version of the Google operating system. The external screen is designed for light interactions such as answering calls and texts, but like the front screen of the Galaxy Fold, most consumers probably do not use it often. The new Razr is basically a flip-phone, so most people will want to use it.
Castano said Motorola has been working on a foldable design since 2015 and its biggest challenge is to fulfill the capabilities of the first Razr the phone needs to be fully closed. Like the original Razr, the 2019 model has a chin on the bottom that houses electronics such as the LTE antenna. It also has a notch at the top of the main display, no headphone jack and is only available in black and with 128GB of memory without any further upgrade options. The camera and battery specifications are overwhelming, although Motorola promises "all-day battery life" without specifying the exact number of hours.
Motorola's other big job will be to assert itself at the super-premium end of the long-dominated market of Samsung and Apple. Since the first Razr, the Motorola brand has been wearing many hats since it served as a mediocre iPhone counter for the Verizon Droid, went through a $ 12.5 billion Google acquisition and eventually came into Lenovo's hands. Now it has to rebuild its own brand identity.
But the shortcomings of the Razr may not matter. This device addresses nostalgics of the flip-phone era, for whom specifications may not be a priority, as well as early adopters of new technologies that are more likely to tolerate first-generation imperfections.
Contacting the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at [email protected]
Contacting the editor responsible for this story: Vlad Savov at [email protected]
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