Motorola Flips the Flip Phone and Makes it a Smartphone – Welcome back RAZR

Motorola Flips the Flip Phone and Makes it a Smartphone – Welcome back RAZR



Keypoint Intelligence

If there is one big trend in consumer devices these days– it’s going retro. Instant print cameras, vinyl records and now even the smartphone goes retro. The Motorola RAZR that most remember from the mid-2000s with its iconic clam shell design (aka Flip phone) was a slim phone that fit in your pocket in the pre-Smartphone days. Back then all a person wanted to do was talk, maybe do some number pad texting and take an occasional photo. What made it popular was its price point (under $300) and the array of colors and designs it offered. I still remember my fuchsia pink RAZR with the etched cherry blossom design like it was yesterday.

Motorola RAZR

About the New RAZR

Motorola hasn’t introduced a new phone since 2015, in the Droid & Moto days. There have been a number of new foldable phones this year, like the Microsoft Surface Duo and Samsung Galaxy Fold, with each approaching the “folding” in a different way. Since none of these phones will be available until 2020 there is time to see how this product category unfolds and if it will be embraced by consumers. With its nostalgic design, RAZR could generate some positive interest in a market that is dominated by Samsung and Apple.  

How it “Flips”

The old flip design showed the hinge in the middle of the device when it was closed. The new hinge design allows it to be hidden behind the display, which unfolds to a 6-inch (876×2142) touch screen. The RAZR’s new hinge moves mechanical elements to either edge, allowing the display to curve in a bell shape when the device is closed thus allowing the flexible display to fold and not crease.

About the Camera

The RAZR has some decent camera specs, the rear camera is 16 MP (a big step up from the 1 MP back in the day) and there’s also a front facing 5 MP selfie camera. When the phone is closed, the main camera can still be used. To take a selfie, the user will be able to do so with a simple twist of the wrist (2 times) to open the camera, then snap a photo by smiling (uses Auto Smile Capture) or using the volume button as shutter button.

Price & Availability

Unlike the original RAZR predecessor that came in a myriad of colors, the new version comes only in black and will carry a list price of $1,500. The phone will be available in January 2020 and will run Android 9.0.

Keypoint Intelligence’s Opinion

The specifications of the RAZR sound interesting. If the screen is truly a full-screen experience with a decent unfolding mechanism this could be a unique smartphone. But it’s going to take more than nostalgia or being a distinctive design to get people to look beyond the $1,500 price tag. They will need to be convinced this flip on the traditional candy bar-styled smartphones that most people have is worth switching from their Apple or Android devices.

Nevertheless, it is nice to see an old player coming back to the smartphone space and 2020 will be an interesting year for folding smartphones. It remains to be seen if they will they be all that the vendors hope they will be in terms of sales and if they will they give consumers the extra screen real estate they want in a smaller form factor. It certainly is going to be a challenge for Motorola given the price point and the market dominance of Samsung and Apple.

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