Razer is developing a gaming-focused smartphone, but the launch could potentially hinge on whether it can raise money from the stock market with an IPO (initial public offering) in Hong Kong. The potential IPO could value the gaming hardware company at up to $5 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in years. Rumor has it the offering could come as soon as October.
With the funding from offering its stock publicly, Razer hopes to push into the smartphone market — something obviously foreshadowed by its acquisition of Nextbit six months ago in January. Nextbit ceased sales of its only phone, the Robin, immediately after the buyout and has since operated stealthily inside of Razer.
What can Razer bring to the table to differentiate itself in a competitive market?
Details on what such a "gaming" smartphone would entail remain a mystery. Razer has built an amazing brand in gaming over just a handful of years, starting with simple gaming accessories and working all the way up to high-end Windows laptops. The company has sales of over $1 billion in just the past three years. But a recognizable brand alone is not going to get you the type of sales you need to be competitive in the smartphone market, even if there's a sizable demand for a smartphone that targets the gaming world.
Manufacturers have tried various different kinds of gaming-oriented smartphones over the years, but none have really caught on. At the same time, mobile gaming is a completely different beast from the world of console and PC gaming — people don't want a phone that just does games well, it has to do everything well. A phone like the Galaxy S8 or HTC U11 is a fine "gaming" phone for most people already ... so what could Razer bring to the table?
We could find out soon. With an IPO looming and development surely already under way, we're sure to hear more about a Razer phone in the near future.