Mobile

Motorola RAZR Brings Back the Folding Phone

How the iconic Motorola Razr may be returning and offering cutting-edge folding screen technology to fans of the top-selling flip phone rather than just nostalgia. 

One of the most popular mobiles of all time could return with new tech

The Motorola Razr V3 flip (or clamshell) phone is the highest selling flip phone of all time – indeed, it appears in the top ten highest selling mobile phones ever with sales of some 130 million – and its distinctive silver finish and high quality feel made it something of an icon back in 2004. Now, nearly fifteen years after it first appeared, it may make a return before long as folding phone technology gathers apace.

Flipping as opposed to folding

The cutting-edge folding phone technology isn’t to be confused with flip phones like the Razr that physically ‘flip’ open to reveal the physical keypad and screen; a folding phone can ‘fold out’ concertina style to display a much larger screen than a standard phone can. Samsung is expected to be close to a folding phone release – possibly in early 2019.

Another variant of the folding design is flexible screens that can be folded out from a smartphone-sized handset and opened up like a map to tablet size so offering a large screen in a small device.

The idea of a reappearance of the striking Razr would combine the flip design with new, folding phone technology in a mix of retro and ultra-modern.

Patent filed for folding screen Razr

Motorola – owned by Chinese tech firm Lenovo who in turn bought the company from Google in 2014 – has submitted a patent application to show a flip phone in the style of the fabled Razr incorporating folding screen technology. Patents don’t necessarily mean it’s imminent, so before you sell your phone there’s a bit of a way to go before the attractive flip phone appears.

When the phone is flipped open, the whole area of the phone that previously would have been taken up with the physical keyboard and small screen becomes one big OLED display using touchscreen control as is the case with smartphones now.

The screen can be viewed in portrait style or turned and viewed in landscape format with the screen contents shifting around as they do on smartphones now when the handset is turned on its side.

Rumours

None other than Lenovo’s CEO, Yang Yuanqing, hinted at the possibility of a return of the Razr thanks to the use of new technology and especially foldable screens when speaking to tech journalists at the MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona earlier in 2018.

There has been a revival of one or two old favourite mobile phone designs such as the Nokia 3310 and 8110, but they have been basically a revival of old and, by today’s standards, limited designs. The possible Razr reappearance, by contrast, appears to be inspired as a way of bringing new tech – as in folding screens – to the market in a fresh and innovative manner.

Joining the fold

Samsung looks as if they could be first to market a foldable screen phone, but other major players are hot on their heels including Apple, Huawei and LG along with Motorola.

The next chapter in smartphone technology is about to be opened – quite literally.

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