Motorola is planning to revive its iconic Razr brand but is doing so specifically to target the ultra-premium segment of the smartphone marker, the WSJ reports, citing sources close to Lenovo's mobile subsidiary. The flip phone family is expected to be revived long before its 14th anniversary happening in November and Motorola reached an agreement with Verizon as the largest wireless carrier in the United States is now set to retail the new handset.
The distribution agreement runs from February, though the Razr-branded device in question isn't likely to hit the market so soon as it's still being tested and has yet to obtain all certification necessary for a commercial launch. That industry-standard regulatory approval is presently harder to obtain than usual seeing how the Trump administration just entered the 26th day of its shutdown over border wall funding and the Federal Communications Commission remains crippled, having been left with no funding.
A flip phone like you've never seen before
Until the FCC's Equipment Authorization System comes back online, Motorola is wrapping up the development of its Razr revival as it's understood to be dealing with numerous highly experimental technologies. As per the same report, the firm opted to retain the iconic flip phone form factor of the original series but modernize it with the addition of a foldable display. While details about the device remain slim, its purported launch timeframe suggests it will be debuting with a custom implementation of Android 9 Pie pre-installed.
The newly emerged report is describing it as a high-end affair with a price tag that the average consumer isn't likely to even consider paying, with the lineup supposedly starting at around $1,500. Steep as it may be, a similar figure has previously been circulated in regards to Samsung's upcoming foldable smartphone as well, with expensive manufacturing techniques supposedly being among the main reasons for such a massive jump from today's flagships which have already been steadily rising in price over the course of the last several years.
Regardless of the reasoning behind that supposedly final pricing strategy, the cost of entry that will prove to be too high for most consumers will likely confine the gadget to a niche category. Lenovo is understood to be planning for such a scenario and will only be manufacturing some 200,000 units of the upcoming Android flagship, according to the same source.
The don't-call-me-Droid-Razr phone
Motorola's last attempt at reviving the Razr brand came just as the company was concluding sale talks with Google. The 2011 Droid Razr recorded underwhelming performance, whereas the Razr M and Razr HD that followed a year later hardly set the world alight either. Motorola will hardly be reminiscing of those devices as part of this year's planned launch but will instead presumably be looking to play the nostalgia card with consumers who still remember its brand from the pre-smartphone, J2ME-dominated days.
The Lenovo-owned electronics company hasn't released a true Android flagship since the summer of 2017 and the Moto Z2 Force, insisting it's not giving up on the premium segment for good but simply needs time to complete its portfolio streamlining efforts and figure out how to rival the top options on the market again. Previous reports already pointed toward another Motorola handset being in the works as references to one such prototype were spotted last year, suggesting the smartphone was powered by the then-unannounced Snapdragon 855. The company is also planning to commercialize 5G this year, though it's presently unclear whether the super-expensive flagship it currently has in the works will be part of its portfolio that offers support for the next generation of wireless tech.