Leaked 'affordable' Razr Lite 2023 could play to Motorola's strengths

Leaked render of the Motorola Razr Lite 2023
(Image credit: MySmartPrice)

Rumors have been swirling about Motorola's next foldable have been swirling, reportedly dubbed the Razr+ 2023. However, a second Razr might be in the works for this year, and we just got our first look at what this "affordable" foldable might look like.

The renders were revealed by leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (Onleaks) via MySmartPrice and show a device that looks somewhat different from the renders we've seen of the Razr+ 2023. While that phone is expected to sport a massive cover screen, this alleged second phone will have a much smaller external display.

The leaks show that the display may be fairly small, even when compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 4. The display appears to be placed in a long black bar that also houses the dual camera system and LED flash unit. Given its size, it may not be as functional as its predecessors' cover screen and may be more akin to the original Galaxy Z Flip.

Furthermore, the phone has a fairly rounded curve, a hole-punch display with fairly small bezels, and a small divet for the Motorola logo.

The images aren't based on CAD but were created based on "low-quality, real-life pictures of a testing stage prototype." Because of this, some of the designs may not be final, and we could see some changes by the time the phone hits the market, assuming Motorola is actually going through with launching a second model. And if/when it does, the report notes that this "affordable" variant could launch as the "Razr Lite 2023" or just the "Razr 2023" to differentiate from the Razr+ 2023, which is expected to be the higher-end model.

Aside from the design, no specs have been revealed about the phone. However, if it's going to be positioned as an "affordable" Razr, it could be powered by something like the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, or even a MediaTek chipset.

An affordable foldable could be just what Motorola needs

Leaked image of the cover display on the Razr 2023

(Image credit: Evan Blass)

This isn't the first time we've heard rumors that Motorola is launching two foldables this year. However, this is the first we're hearing of an "affordable" version of the Razr, and given how pricey foldable phones can be, I think it's a smart move for Motorola.

Foldable phones are more popular than ever right now. According to IDC, foldable shipments are expected to grow by 50% this year as tons of Android OEMs launch their first foldables or upgrades to previous models. Clamshell foldables like Samsung's Z Flip series are dominating sales, mainly due to their smaller price tags. However, even the cheapest foldables are still roughly $1000 and sit well within the price range of a conventional flagship phone.

By offering a cheaper Razr model, Motorola has a chance to undercut much of the competition, including Samsung. This could be for the folks who want a taste of their first foldable phone without the sticker shock that comes with it.

After all, Motorola is known for focusing its efforts on offering more accessible budget smartphones. Because of this, Motorola remains the third-largest smartphone vendor in the United States as of Q4 2022, according to some of the latest figures from Counterpoint Research.

U.S. smartphone market share from Q3 2021 to Q4 2022. Lenovo includes Motorola. (Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

Hanish Bhatia, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, told me in an interview from 2021 that Motorola's strong brand recognition and pricing strategy have been key drivers to its success, as it's able to offer affordable phones and give consumers more choice in a market dominated by expensive iPhones and Galaxy flagships.

"While it continues to address the affordable device category, Motorola made various attempts to penetrate more premium price bands," Bhatia explained to me via email. "Moto Razr and Moto Edge series are few examples. But the premium device market is highly skewed towards Apple and Samsung."

With the rumored Razr Lite and Razr+ 2023, users would essentially be able to choose between a more affordable foldable or a more premium Razr model with a potentially much larger cover screen and other improvements over its predecessor, like a faster processor and larger battery. And with the phone rumored to launch in June, Motorola could steal some mindshare from Samsung, which is expected to reveal the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in August.

While it continues to address the affordable device category, Motorola made various attempts to penetrate more premium price bands.

Of course, availability and pricing will be key factors for the phone's success. The Razr 2022 was limited to China for some time before launching in Europe and skipping the U.S. entirely. If Motorola is going to challenge Samsung, it needs to offer both phones in these key markets ahead of Samsung's next launch.

Additionally, while we don't have any pricing details for either phone, the Razr+ 2023 can't be priced any higher than what Samsung may charge for the Z Flip 5. In addition, the Razr Lite 2023 needs to really wow consumers by offering incredible value and an unbeatable price, particularly if Motorola plans to release it in the United States.

For now, details on the alleged "affordable" Razr are scarce, and the company could always decide not to launch the model. However, it could be just what U.S. consumers need in a market dominated by Samsung. The Razr moniker may not be as popular as it once was, but Motorola has a chance to play to its strengths and swoop in on Samsung's dream to make foldables mainstream.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.