Motorola's New Razr Is the First Big-Name Foldable Smartphone to Get Price Tag

A futuristic revival of an 00s legend.

The smartphone brand with one of the most legendary flip phones of the 00s smells an opportunity to return to its former glory. As the perception grows that the next phase in mobile is multi-use foldable devices, Motorola is seizing the opportunity to revive its famous Razr, a phone that all the cool kids had when you were in the eighth grade but whose brand languished as the flip phone gave way to the smartphone. More interestingly, it’s the first big name foldable phone maker to set a price point for the concept.

The foldable revolution is moving fast: Motorola’s parent company, Lenovo Group, is teaming up with Verizon to bring the device to market as early as February, possibly in time to beat Samsung, the biggest name with a foldable concept in the works. But unlike with Samsung, we already know this new Razr’s price point: It’s expected to be run around $1,500, according to a Wednesday Wall Street Journal report.

The Razr’s revival will be extremely limited, with plans to manufacture about 200,000 of the flexible-display devices. Patents filed by the company hint that it’ll look like a slender clamshell phone of yesteryear. Inside it’ll house a single, long display that can be folded in half to comfortably fit in your jeans.

motorola razr foldable phone
The patent blueprint of the new Motorola Razr.

Smartphone enthusiasts online surmised that the outside of the Razr could also have a display to view notifications when it’s flipped shut. However, even with an exterior screen it’s difficult to see an innovative use case for this modern flip phone aside from just being a flashy gadget.

Other anticipated foldable phones, like Samsung’s Galaxy F and LG’s, all serve as two-in-one smartphone-tablets. In theory, a hybrid design could let tablet users easily transport a laptop-like device in their pocket. Early concepts of the Razr look more like a traditional flip phone with a touch-screen instead of a keypad. The LG’s by contrast, is supposed to unfurl like a scroll, which seems like a hint that it could be used as some kind of presentation tool.

As it stands, Royole’s FlexPai is the only foldable phone available for preorder and it hasn’t exactly garnered glowing reviews (though, of course, that’s the risk in being first to-market). The Galaxy F is expected to be unveiled as early as February 20, but might not make it to market until sometime in April, according to a previous report. The low number of Razrs that are expected to be manufactured is also a hint that Motorola is content with selling a small number to diehards that can’t wait until other models are released.

Whether this new Razr can tap into the excitement surrounding next-gen smartphone concepts, or whether it will be greeted as a niche, throwback device remains to be seen. But regardless, you gotta admire the hustle and opportunism behind the timing.