What you need to know
- Motorola's engineers are already thinking about what to include in their next foldable phone.
- In an interview, they listed better specs, 5G, and an improved QuickView display as some of their priorities for the phone's design.
- The one thing the RAZR was most admired for, its clamshell form factor, will remain unchanged in future foldable devices.
Motorola officially unveiled the RAZR to much fanfare and admiration among the tech community. However, the end product that was shipped to users was far from perfect, with our Nirava Gondhia calling it "as useful as a dull razor blade," arguing that it made "too many compromises, for too much money."
While initial sales for the phone have been so great that the phone's release had to be delayed to accommodate the demand, following the wave of negative reviews lambasting the phone's less-than-stellar spec sheet and a seemingly flimsy display, Motorola's best bet at retaking the imaginations of the tech community likely lies with a well-crafted sequel.
And its engineers are already thinking about how to change the phone in its next iteration. In an interview with TechRadar, the company's Vice President of Consumer Experience Design, Ruben Castano, and Director of Product Management, Carl Steen, talked about the changes they're hoping to make with their next foldable phone.
The RAZR's specs, especially when put in the context of its $1,500 price, were indeed underwhelming, and that's one of the areas Motorola is hoping to improve in the future. "Of course increasing the specs will be part of that for sure," said Steen. He also explained why the company did not opt for a more powerful processor: "The Snapdragon only brought to the table things like Quad-HD performance, we didn't have Quad-HD displays, so that would have been overkill."
In addition, he expressed his desire to amp up the phone's networking chops in the future: "things like 5G [...] are all items that we'd like to pursue on our next generation devices." That lines up well with previous reports, which suggest the company is already working on a 5G variant of the RAZR, though it may be exclusive to only China.
Lastly, while the team is satisfied with the clamshell form factor that was the subject of much adoration when the RAZR was first revealed, the company does want to experiment with improving functionality within that form factor.
"As we think about future devices, we're really looking at how to optimize that [form factor]," Steen said. "For example, the QuickView Display – we're looking at ways to make an even [richer] experience," referring to the secondary display on the RAZR's front (or rear, depending on whether it's folded or not).
But the company's not just stopping at foldable phones. As expected of a major technology company, Motorola's R&D department is hard at work thinking up other use cases that folding screens could enable. "Having the device or the technology conform to the human body in the sense of a wearable" is, for example, one area Motorola believes is ripe for innovation with the advent of foldable screens.
As it stands, the company's lofty expectations for the RAZR's successor are not only commendable but also much needed. Not only does Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip blow the RAZR out of the water in almost every regard, it does so for $100 less. Recommending the RAZR over the Z Flip is a tough thing to do right now, and if Motorola wants to retake its thunder from Samsung, it needs to knock it out of the park with the RAZR 2. Let's hope it does.
The weird and wonderful foldable
Samsung's second take on the foldable phone is an impressive beast. Not only does it cost $100 less than the RAZR, it's also got a faster Snapdragon 855 processor and much better cameras. It's 'ultra-thin glass' screen is controversial, but it is expected to be far mroe durable than the RAZR's, making this the foldable phone to buy right now.
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