David Beckham. Paris Hilton. Bono. Everyone who was someone in the early 2000s owned a Motorola Razr. With its elegant edges and metallic keyboard, it stood out from the crop of generic flip phones. And it wasn't just for the elite. In its four-year cycle, the smart, ultra-thin phone has sold 130 million units on the way to becoming one of the most beloved and iconic pieces of technology ever.
Then the Apple iPhone appeared and destroyed it, along with the memory of the so-called blunt phones.
Now, more than a decade later, Motorola, whichbut is struggling with the mobile unknown, is organizing a comeback with a rev. It combines retro clamshell design with Google's Android software and an innovative folding touchscreen that puts a new twist on the classic flip phone. CNET reviewer Jessica Dolcourt, describes it as "Structured. Certainly a pocket. Nostalgic, with a sharp, futuristic edge. "
" We consider it a franchise, "Motorola President Sergio Bunyak said in an interview before today's launch.
With $ 1,500, the new Razr is too expensive to come out even with premium phones, including the Samsung S10's iPhone 11 and Galaxy, but Bunjac and company are hoping that its ability to stand out from the pack will again make a buzz at Motorola and make consumers excited about
We could use the jitter. The folding phones arrived with a huge too high and high expectations earlier this year, which were meant to strengthen the wireless world and represent a potential sea change in the way we use our mobile devices. The new category would also serve as a bridge to the kind of science-fiction tech we see in films like Minority Report, or shows like Westworld.
That didn't happen. Concerns about endurance, compounded by the early defects of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the delayed launch of Huawei Mate X, caused excitement. Even Motorola missed its original summer launch target. The company is now taking pre-orders starting December 26, with Verizon launching the phone in January as an exclusive lifelong experience in the US. It will launch elsewhere next year.
Eye prices do not help. Razr is five times the price of a mid-range Moto G7 phone. And that's still a bargain compared to $ 980 Galaxy Fold or $ 2400 Mate X.
Unlike those two devices that are positioned as the future of their respective franchises, Motorola is returning to one of its most famous icons as a path in the market for super-premium smartphones. We hope that the nostalgic chords it pulls, combined with a hassle-free 6.2-inch display (when unfolded) and compact design (when folded), can generate awareness not only for the Razr, but for its larger stable phone .
Motorola, which has about 3% of the handset market, is facing an upward trend. Now the company specializes in budget phones, so price remains an issue. It's unclear if this Razr name, so beloved by older generations of users growing up on flip phones, will even register with the majority of younger users who view the first iPhone as the iconic phone .  The question of durability then arises.
What is certain is that Motorola and Lenovo have big ambitions with Razr. They have made a unique bet on folding screens, making the device smaller unlike Samsung and Huawei devices that expand into larger tablets.
"If the goal is to create a slam with a folding phone, it can be very effective," says Avi Gringart, an analyst at consumer technology research firm Techsponential. "Anything Motorola can do to break through congestion and reminding people that they are still making the desired phones will only help.
Back to the Future
"At the time, we didn't know we were creating these iconic devices," says Mike Jank, a global industrial designer at Motorola.
I'm talking to a 21-year-old Motorola veteran at the headquarters of a phone maker in the historic Merchandise Mart building in Chicago. Junk was pulled out in combination with a purple cotton tie and sweater that appeared in the range of various Razr colored phones behind him.
As one of the designers of the original Razr, Jank shares stories of missed celebrities when requesting special versions of a flip phone. The device was removed as a status symbol after Motorola took the clever step of putting a special black Razr edition into the Academy 2005 award bags. Shortly thereafter, each powerful player had to have one – personalized to their liking.
Tennis star Maria Sharapova had her signature edition. Motorola has made versions of the television show in Miami Ink and Dolce & Gabbana.
Following its initial $ 600 exclusive experience with wireless provider Cingular, Motorola has added new carriers, new options and lowered its price.
Motorola withdrew the then impressive task of making available and a telephone connection.
By 2006, the company owned more than one-fifth of the global phone market, according to Neal Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research. Razr has spawned a number of imitation slim phones from competitors such as Samsung and Sanyo's Katana. Motorola has tried to track the success of Razr with phones such as Rizr or Slvr that have a similar aesthetic. Football legend David Beckham serves as the face of Razr 2.
"Everybody else had to fight to catch up," said Roger Enter, a recon Analytics consultant. "Copycat devices have made Razr a more iconic device."
But a year later, Apple CEO Steve Jobs released his iPhone. And Motorola's slow and steady sliding began.