Flashback: Motorola RAZR V3 – the little clamshell that might

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Can a telephone be too profitable? It’s a bizarre factor to consider, however the Motorola RAZR might have been so profitable that it tanked its mother or father firm. Motorola invented the cell phone and the StarTAC was one of many very first flip telephones. Nevertheless, probably the most memorable telephone it made is actually the unique RAZR.

Confusingly referred to as “V3”, it got here out in 2004. It had a modern profile and was marketed as a vogue telephone. Whereas it began off as a premium machine, its worth fell over time and two years after launch Motorola had offered 50 million items.



Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola RAZR V3

Motorola RAZR V3

Motorola saved the RAZR V3 round for 4 years and offered a whopping 130 million items over that interval. Even by at this time’s requirements that’s wildly spectacular. Replace cycles have been slower again then, however 4 years remains to be a very long time. We are able to hardly blame Motorola for protecting it up so long as it did although, the telephone was promoting like hotcakes.

And it propped up Moto’s market share – the corporate was one of many largest telephone makers on the planet, second solely to Nokia. Nevertheless the indicators of its decline have been already beginning to seem. However earlier than we cowl the bitter finish, let’s first discover why the telephone was so profitable.


Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola RAZR V3
Motorola RAZR V3

Motorola RAZR V3

The Moto RAZR V3 was the thinnest clamshell on the time at 13.9mm. It’s possible you’ll scoff on the quantity now, however widespread bar telephones on the time have been significantly thicker – e.g. the Sony Ericsson K700 and Nokia 7610 each measure 19mm thick.

The RAZR was the definition of modern. The anodized aluminum chassis and the metallic keyboard gave it a premium really feel and the trademark bulge on the backside made for a really highly effective loudspeaker (and it helped steadiness the load distribution).

Flashback: Motorola RAZR V3

Attractive because it was, the telephone was a little bit of an airhead – maybe not by 2004 requirements, however by 2006 it was beginning to really feel restricted. It had solely 2G connectivity and a easy WAP browser, a primary zero.3MP digicam and barely any storage.

In 2005 Motorola launched a barely revamped model – the RAZR V3i – which fastened a few of these complaints. It bumped the digicam to 1.23MP and added a microSD slot. Nevertheless, the browser and connectivity didn’t get a lot of a lift, Motorola did not even give it EDGE.

Curiously, the V3i got here out in the midst of Motorola’s partnership with Apple. So the telephone had two variations – one with iTunes and one with the Moto audio participant. Just like the earlier model, the V3i didn’t have an audio jack so that you had to make use of the included headphones that resulted in a miniUSB.

Flashback: Motorola RAZR V3

The iTunes mannequin might sync music out of your PC, however had a cap on what number of songs it might maintain at a time – 100 or 50, relying on the area. The ROKR had the same restrict, Steve Jobs described it as an iPod shuffle inside a phone.

The true sequel, the Razr2 V8, wouldn’t arrive on the scene till 2007 (adopted a couple of months later by the 3G-enabled V9). Motorola CEO Ed Zander in contrast the RAZR to the likes of Kleenex, Coke and the iPod – model names which have grow to be synonymous with their product class.

He additionally detailed a shift in technique for the corporate, speaking up superior options like 3G connectivity and a brand new HTML browser – Moto telephones will do greater than look good. That was the plan, anyway.

By 2007, the worth and thus revenue margins from the RAZR have been razor-slim (for those who’ll pardon the pun). That damage the corporate’s profitability, however the worst a part of all of it is that Motorola had no reply to the incoming wave of contact smartphones.

The iPhone got here out in June 2007, across the similar time because the Razr2. Searching on a 2.2” display didn’t reduce it anymore and utilizing a D-pad and a keypad felt drab. The long run was pinch-zoom and Motorola was residing up to now.

It did launch the Motorola DROID (aka Milestone) in 2009 – full with a license for the Star Wars-derived identify and the backing of Verizon (the iPhone was nonetheless unique to AT&T). The droids couldn’t reverse the downward trajectory of Motorola and its telephone division was offered off to Google.

In the long run, evidently Motorola was so petrified of killing its golden goose and releasing new forward-looking fashions that it ended up killing its telephone enterprise as a substitute. The RAZR could also be due for a revival, nonetheless, as Motorola (now beneath Lenovo management) unveiled an alluring foldable telephone with all of the nostalgia-inducing particulars, right down to the keyboard and bump on the backside.