Motorola’s newly launched RAZR i is the first flagship handset to be released by the company since it was bought out by search engine giant Google. As well as being a genuinely good smartphone the handset is sporting a processor from Intel, and that makes it a flagship phone for Intel, too. But what does the future hold for the company? Will it remain an independent handset maker at arms length of Google? Or will it eventually be turned into Google’s own handset maker? We try and find out.
Motorola 10 years ago was the toast of the town in mobile circles, in 2003 they release their stunning clamshell RAZR and while it wasn’t the most advanced handset around it changed the fortunes of the company seemingly overnight. Having made a name for itself with functional handsets, it wasn’t until the original svelte RAZR came along that they begun to be known as cool brand – especially compared to its competitors Nokia and Sony Ericsson.
Motorola made a massive effort to be seen as a premium brand, and used host of high-profile adverts, clever product-placements and even managed to get endorsed by numerous celebrities. It was Motorola’s iPhone moment, as it clearly wasn’t the best phone available, if fact, it was far from it – but the design obviously struck a chord with consumers thanks to an anodized aluminium display and that iconic clamshell design and they sold millions and transformed Motorola into a stylish and cool brand.
Unfortunately the RAZR’s that followed never quite caught the eye of consumers like the original did, with efforts such as Defy and Flipout never really gaining enough traction. Fast forward to 2011 and the beleaguered company tried to re-kindle the past with a new RAZR. Early signs were positive as the handset was the thinnest handset available at the time.
This month, under the guidance of its new owner Google, they’re making a comeback much to the delight of Google CEO Larry Page. He recently described Motorola as “a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution” and extolled its “track record of over 80 years of innovation”, finally stating that he saw the new venture creating “the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.
And the new RAZR i looks to have captured a bit of the magic of the old RAZR’s. The handset measures 60.9 x 122.5 x 8.3mm and while it can’t claim to be the slimmest handset around, it’s impressively compact for a phone with the 4.3-inch display.
The display sits under Corning Gorilla Glass and the back of the handset is covered with a garishly Kevlar cover. But when you hold the phone it feels solid, with no creaking or flexing – which is a good sign.
As a sealed unit, there’s no access to the internals of the RAZR i. So you can’t access the 2000mAh battery, but you do get the option to add extra memory on top of the rather meagre 8GB, thanks to a microSD card slot.
The display has a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and as a 4.3-inch device, this gives you a pixel density of 256ppi. That’s a nice high number, but it’s a big step down from the highest resolutions available on current smartphones.
Elsewhere you’ll find a Intel 2GHz Intel Atom processor, with 1GB of RAM and that’s where you get the “i” in the name. The handset is snappy and responsive and while it might not be the fastest around it does show that Intel will become a permanent fixture in the Android marketplace in the future.
There are two cameras on the Motorola RAZR i, with the obligatory front-facing module for video calling, and a main 8-megapixel camera on the rear. As we mentioned before, Intel and Moto have worked to make the camera a fast loader and shooter and it works.
One of the best features of the Motorola RAZR i is its great staying power. With a 2000mAh battery – higher capacity than both the HTC One S and the One X too – it will easily out-last both handsets. The Motorola RAZR i will easily see you through a day of work and well into the evening.
The new RAZR shows that there’s plenty of life left in Motorola and if it continues to make handsets that are, in places, are genuinely better than the competition it will soon be knocking on the door of Apple, Samsung and Nokia – but how long will Google give them? As easily as tomorrow Google could decide it only wants the company to make Google handsets. So while the future of the company is more secure than its ever been before you can’t but think they’ll be looking over their shoulder for a few years to come. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google at some point decides to bring Motorola under their wing and completely restructures the company, and who knows maybe the next Google Nexus could exclusively be made by Google itself.