Inside a cave-like space at the Container Yard in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, the Motorola team responsible for the launch of the new Razr assembled for their big reveal. After four years of development, they unleashed a device that proves the aesthetics of their legendary pocket-sized flip-phone will live on—beyond just nostalgia. The device elicited strong emotions when it launched back in 2004 and is doing so again.
The design transformation takes many of the best original elements and merges these assets into a contemporary Android smartphone with a fully foldable screen. In the hand, the Razr has enough tension to feel sturdy and opens with a satisfying click. Users are greeted by a 6.2-inch fully interactive display, which they can then flip closed to protect the screen. The exterior also features a quick-view screen, for checking the time and notifications, and it’s water-repellent and scratch-resistant, too. The chin section—with a similar shape to the original Razr—provides space for the antennae, speaker, and battery.
The Motorola design team’s goal for this device was three fold: to surprise, delight, and solve problems. Doug Michau, Motorola’s head of product operations, tells us, “I have been working with Motorola for 22 years and one thing is innovation never stops. How do we do that with devices? We were some of first to offer dual band radios. Then we moved into things such as the Razr and download devices. Then we moved into modular system phones. We were the first to launch 5G in North America. It’s always about change. It’s awesome for a technologist to be part of this.”
Holding the new Razr in his hand, Michau explains what this new launch means for the company. “It is momentous for a couple of reasons,” he says. “It is taking a display and completely folding it in half. Having that flexible display and bringing all of the conveniences of the Razr, but marrying them with all of the great things you don’t want to miss, like Snapchat, Instagram. You can order an Uber. And making sure you have a fully touchscreen phone where you can enjoy all of the streaming content. I am excited that we are finally able to bring this to market.”
The new design’s exterior display offers almost as much functionality as the internal. “It’s awesome. I can read emails,” Michau says. “People often ask which display I use more. To be honest every single day you just want to be informed. You get a message from a family member, you want to quickly view and quickly reply. You can do all of that with it flipped closed.” He’s also pleased with the new version’s battery life. “I have no problem getting through the whole day of use,” he says, “and I am a pretty heavy user.”
Michau has been using the new Razr since March, and has been working on the project for much longer. “Using this device early on, for me, every single step of the development was super-exciting. The first time we got this fully flexible display working. The first time we could see it fold and come back and it worked perfectly was super-exciting to hit that milestone,” he says. “As network technologies advance and we look to see how do we integrate those into future flexible displays, I am really excited about the possibilities.”
The reinvented Razr comes with a premium gift case in a cradle and with an accessories box filled with a braided cable, travel charger and headset.
Images courtesy of Motorola