Cutting Edge: Ten Things You Might Not Know About the Moto Razr

Hello again, classic Moto RAZR

by: - Last updated on: November 19th, 2019

The new Moto Razr is the talk of tech town with its eye-catching design. A design that goes back more than a decade and a half to the highest selling clamshell phone of all time. So even as the world celebrates the arrival of a new Razr, we go back in time to bring you ten interesting facts about the series:

moto razr
Image: Bloomberg

Meant for the swish crowd…initially

The first Razr was also called the V3 and was released in 2004. It was priced at around USD 500, which was a lot at that time, but then it was being marketed as a designer phone for the fashionable crowd (hey, Meryl Streep used one while playing the role of a tyrannical fashion magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada), not mainstream users.

Dat aircraft-grade aluminium

It was the slimmest form factor in clamshells – being half an inch thin – and was made of anodized “aircraft grade” aluminum. It had two displays – a tiny nine-line display outside mainly for showing calls and battery and network status, and a 2.2-inch display inside. It also had a very basic VGA camera and what a “3D graphics engine,” although we never really found out what difference it made.

Check that keyboard

moto razr v3

The clamshell form factor was very cool, but one of the most striking features of the V3 was its keyboard that was made of a single metal wafer. The etched, backlit keys on it were to become iconic, and Motorola replicated the design even in some of its candy bar devices like the Slvr. Even the new Razr has a skin that simulates the classic Razr keypad!

An Oscar for the black edition

Nominees at the 77th Academy Awards function got a special edition Moto RAZR in the gift bag. Motorola came out with a special black edition for the occasion. It was supposed to be a special edition, but it soon became mainstream.

Audio jack, what audio jack?

This might make some people wince – the original Moro Razr did NOT have a 3.5 mm audio jack (no, that port was not as much of a rage as some punditry would have us believe). In fact, it did not even have Wi-Fi or expandable memory. It did have Bluetooth and a mini USB port, though.

Became a bestseller…after a price cut

Contrary to what many think (given its legendary status), the original Moto Razr was not an instant hit. In fact, while many liked its incredibly compact and well-crafted form factor, most consumers stayed away because of its very high price and relatively modest specs. However, sales picked up after a price cut. And then picked up and by July 2006 had run up 50 million units in sales! In fact, many credit the Razr with making the mobile phone division of Motorola profitable after a lean period.

Millions flipped for it

The Razr V3 in all sold 130 million units before being discontinued in 2007. It remains one of the highest-selling phones of all time, and the highest-selling clamshell ever! And while its successors did not do quite as well, its iconic status persisted for quite a while, with other Razrs getting special editions including a gold Dolce and Gabbana edition and one of its successors and a Ferrari edition!

Thinking different did not quite work out

Imagine Apple and Motorola collaborating on a Razr. Well, it happened with the Razr V3i, which was released in late 2005. The phone came with support for microSD cards (up to 512 MB) and one of its variants used iTunes to synchronize music. The execution was buggy, however, and iTunes and the Razr subsequently followed different paths.

Not always flippin’

droid razr

The Razr might be synonymous with flip phones, but ironically not all phones with Razr branding were flip phones. In 2011, Motorola released the Droid Razr and the Droid Razr Maxx, which were very slim but very much candy bar touchscreen devices. No, they did not set the market on fire.

Before the Razr, there was the Star Tac!

The Razr might have made the flip phones cool, but it was certainly not the first phone to come with that form factor. That actually was another Motorola phone – the StarTac, which was launched in 1996 (the author was involved in its launch actually).

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