Motorola, a unit of Chinese consumer electronics giant Lenovo, plans to sell its foldable smartphone in the summer, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. The person said the design would be unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which debuted last week, or the Huawei , which was shown off at the MWC Barcelona show on Sunday.
The device is almost certainly a revival of the Razr brand, which The Wall Street Journal reported would be coming back with a $1,500 price tag. Engadget on Wednesday confirmed that the phone was coming.
The summer launch puts it squarely in between the launch of the Galaxy Fold, slated for April 26, and the Mate X, which will launch around the middle of the year, and further highlights the burgeoning trend of foldable phones. The devices garnered tons of buzz and were the talk of a reinvigorated MWC at a time when interest in phones were starting to mature.
Unlike the Galaxy Fold or Mate X, which fold out into larger displays, the Razr’s design, based on schematics from a patent filing discovered by blog 91Mobiles, flips down into a smaller device like the original Razr.
The design has some advantages, including protection of the display once it’s folded down. If it mimics the original phone, it’ll be much more compact too. But it’s unclear if consumers want to fold away their display. Samsung and Huawei are banking on people preferring the option of the larger display.
Thewas one of the most recognizable brands and helped drive Motorola’s success for years during the flip phone era. The ultra-thin phone first started off at the then-outrageous price of $500 as an exclusive phone for Cingular Wireless (now AT&T.) It was one of the most successful phones in history, selling more than 50 million units within two years of its debut.
Motorola, however, couldn’t capitalize on the success of the Razr, and fell further behind as the industry moved to more sophisticated smartphones. Googlein 2012, and then later to Lenovo.
Now, Lenovo has a chance to reinvigorate the Motorola brand with the Razr once more.