Cellphones – and now smartphones – come and go, as dozens of models have been released year after year, decade after decade. Most are retired with barely an afterthought, but some phones rise above and are remembered long after their production stopped.
Maybe you still think about that phone you had 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. What made it so memorable? The overall experience? Or it could have been the look, like the Nokia phones around the turn of the century. It seems just about everyone had one.
But Nokia wasn't the only big name of the time. And one sleek device from about 15 years ago may just go down as the greatest flip phone of all time. Oh yeah, and it could be making a big comeback – although it might be a little more flexible this time around.
Remembering a device that became an icon
When Motorola first released the Razr V3 phone in 2004, it was an overnight success. Success may not be a strong enough word, because it also became a status symbol touted by celebrities. People loved it so much, more than 130 million were sold around the world.
But then came the iPhone in 2007. And people were quick to turn away from the popular brands of the time, like Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry. Sales slumped, but four years later, Motorola attempted to relaunch the icon with an all-new Droid Razr, but it still couldn't compete with other devices on the market. Motorola ended up selling its mobile phone business to Google the same year.
Chinese company Lenovo bought the brand from Google in 2014. And now The Wall Street Journal reports the Motorola Razr is on its way back, but with a few upgrades.
Making what's old new again
The revival is set to turn the tried-and-true Motorola Razr flip phone into a full-featured smartphone with a foldable screen. And WSJ says Lenovo is partnering with Verizon on an exclusive deal to begin selling the updated Razr as early as next month.
Not much else is known about the revamped hardware except that Lenovo plans to manufacture about 200,000 of the phones, which are expected to have a starting price around $1,500 – similar to other premium smartphones. However, Motorola Mobility filed a patent for a clamshell-style phone with a hinge and a flexible screen that folds inward without creasing back in May 2017. The patent was granted last August so that could be a clue to its appearance.
Even though it's possible the new Razr makes its debut in February, WSJ says it's still being tested and the release date could change.
If you recall, Samsung's been trying to get a foldable phone into your hands for years. And it looks like their version will finally hit the market on Feb. 20, although other manufacturers like LG are planning to release their own similar device. Still, it looks like Samsung's going to be beat to the punch on the folding feature by a phone that's been around since Windows XP was still a thing. That's gotta hurt.
Real or fake? Take a look at this mysterious foldable smartphone
It looks like the wait for real phones that fold is over, with many options coming this year. But one comes with a question mark.