Motorola Mobility has unveiled another round of Razr smartphones to attempt to relive its glory days and challenge Apple's iPhone due next week.
The release is the first under Google's ownership and management, and comes amidst big changes at the floundering smartphone maker, which hasn't really had a major hit since the original RAZR in 2004. The pre-touch screen era. Motorola did release the Razr Maxx last year to a lukewarm reception.
The Razr M features a 4.3-inch screen that runs edge to edge - no side bezel. This give the device a 540x960 resolution. The Kevlar encased device weighs just 126g, is water repellent and will feature a 8MP camera, an uspecified 1.5GHz dual core processor (Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4), with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage. Motorola is boasting a 40% longer lasting battery (2000mAh) than the iPhone 4s - or, 20 hours of mixed usage.
It is a 4G device, which consumes battery life much faster than 2G or 3G connections, so its unclear how relevant Motorola's quoted battery life stats are until tested.
Motorola Razr M - a tasty kevlar body
Verizon in the US is already taking pre-orders for the device which will retail for US$99 on a plan and will be in stores next week. This is key if it wants to compete with Apple, which is announcing the iPhone 5 next week, and, following history, will presumably retail it the following week. UK retailers have not been confirmed as of yet.
Nokia announced its new Windows Phone 8 device yesterday, the Lumia 920. However it still has no pricing or release date - a key marketing flaw.
Motorola will follow up the release of the Razr M with two more high end Razr smartphones later in the year, the Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD. Both will feature 4.7-inch screens (resolution not finalised), the same processor as the Razr M, but massive boosts to battery capacity. Both will be 4G devices, but the Razr Maxx HD will feature a huge 3300mAh battery, which it says is good enough for 32 hours mixed usage. The Razr HD has a 2530mAh battery, for 24 hours mixed usage.
Motorola defines mixed usage as "an average user profile that includes both usage and standby. Actual battery performance will vary and depends on signal strength, network configuration, features selected, and voice, data and other application usage patterns."
It is unclear whether these are 4G quoted times or not.
All of the phones will run Google Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and will be upgraded to 4.1 Jellybean at a later date.
Google bought Motorola for $12.4bn in May. Google promptly installed its own management. It announced last month that it would be sacking 4000 staff, or 20% of its workforce. Like many Android OEMs, it has struggled to differentiate itself in a tough marketplace dominated by Apple and Samsung.
Google's shares stayed almost static on the news at $680.72 (-0.05%), hardly a vote of confidence by the market.