Tuesday 25 October 2016

Hello Moto? Motorola hints at return of iconic Razr flip phone

James Titcomb

Published 24/05/2016 | 08:08

Number 7: Motorola RAZR V3, launched in 2004, sold more than 130 million units
Number 7: Motorola RAZR V3, launched in 2004, sold more than 130 million units

Before the iPhone, we had the Motorola Razr. Released in 2004, the skinny flip phone was a fashion icon, a revolutionary design compared to the stubby Nokias that ruled the world.

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Promoted by the likes of David Beckham, the Razr became the world’s bestselling flip phone and one of the 10 most popular of all time. And despite being woefully underpowered compared to today’s mobiles, with a 2.2-inch screen and 0.3 megapixel camera, it still evokes fond memories in a world of nagging smartphones with shrinking battery lives.

But if you pine for the simpler times of flip phones, text messages and WAP, your prayers may about to be answered. Motorola has hinted that the Razr could make a return.

A teaser video uploaded to YouTube shows a group of students, circa 2007 judging from the video’s soundtrack, using their Razr phones at an American high school.

The video is titled “06.09.16”, highlighting an event Motorola is due to hold on June 9. It is captioned “Flip back to the Razr days of yesteryear and get ready for the future”, and ends with the letters “TTYL” (text parlance for talk to you later).

The video may simply be a nostalgia trip to drum up interest in the event (and remind us of a better time when Motorola once made the world’s must-have phone).

The company, now owned by China’s Lenovo, is expected to release a successor to its flagship smartphone, the Moto X, in June. Deviating from the rectangular touchscreen design of every popular smartphone appears somewhat unlikely, but that can’t stop us hoping. The new phone could bring back the Razr brand for a second time (a non-flip line of Razr smartphones was released in 2011) or simply take styling cues from its predecessor.

Clamshell phones are, however, making something of a comeback. Adele famously sports one in the music video for Hello, while sales of flip phones in Japan rose in 2014. Samsung has also released and developed various designs in recent years (although, alas, they are only on sale in Asia).

A flip phone in 2016 would not, perhaps, be such a good thing. Assuming it would run Android, the screen would be much smaller than those of today’s phones, making most apps unusable, although if its simplicity you’re after this might not be a problem.

There is a growing backlash against the demands of our smartphones, creating a potential market for the Razr’s return. After all, there’s no feeling like flicking a phone shut to hang up on someone.


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