Motorola’s wild new Razr is here, and it’s basically a foldable iPhone.
The first time I flip the Motorola Razr open, I hear the familiar snap as the clamshell phone unfolds into my hand. But there is no metal dial pad or black-and-white screen featured in the iconic 2004 phone, which went on to sell more than 130 million units.
This is the new Razr, which folds out to feature a seamless color touchscreen OLED display, albeit with the large Razr “chin” on the bottom. Then, as you close an email or hang up on a call, it snaps back shut like the 15-year-old Razr you know.
The accomplishment is self-evident. It doesn’t appear to be some hacked-together tech demo as most folding-screen devices have to date.
The flexible display operates so well it just feels normal. And once you see the Razr’s screen is possible, every other phone will look a tiny bit dated as a result.
“I’ve been here 25 years. The first phone I worked on was the StarTAC,” recalls Glenn Schultz, vice president for innovation and product development at Motorola. “We weren’t supposed to, but you’d show it to a friend. And they literally, literally freaked out. That phone compared to everything else, they freaked out.”
“And that feeling, it would motivate me down the whole path of my life and my career,” he continues as his voice cracks a bit and his eyes begin to well. “And to this day, I hadn’t felt that actually, until now with this phone.”
I picture Schultz commuting to work each day, as Motorola—the American company that built the first cellphone, period—went through a few rough post-Razr years, was sold to Google, and then was sold to Lenovo, which still owns it today. During all that time, this was the sensation he was waiting for again.