Motorola’s rebooted Razr with a flexible screen hasn’t even been on sale for a full six months, but according to new rumours, there could be a new model due out before the end of the year with significantly beefier specs, updated software, and even 5G support.
Following a few delays, the current Razr finally went on sale this February for $2,699 packing mostly mid-range specs including a Snapdragon 710 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 2,510 mAh battery, and of course, that bendy 6.2-inch plastic OLED display. However, despite initially selling out in its first week, the 2020 Razr was quickly eclipsed by Samsung’s foldable Galaxy Z Flip, which offered better performance, more cameras, longer battery life, and most importantly, better build quality for about $150 less.
But now, according to a source who spoke to XDA Developers, Moto is working on a refreshed foldable Razr codenamed “Smith” that looks like it will address many of the current Razr’s shortcomings. Instead of a Snapdragon 710 chip, the new Razr will reportedly get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a new 48-MP main camera, and even a bigger 2,845 mAh battery.
However, while the new Razr’s Snapdragon 765 chip will support 5G, it may only support sub-6GHz 5G, which seems a bit strange since the original Razr reboot was a Verizon exclusive, whose current 5G network consists entirely of mmWave 5G. (Note: Verizon is working on adding sub-6GHz 5G coverage to its network, but that isn’t slated to go live until sometime later this summer.)
Unfortunately, even with its updated components, aside from the addition of 5G support (which has yet to see significant traction among typical phone buyers) the refreshed Razr would only be matching the specs available on the Galaxy Z Flip. That means the new Razr’s only real advantage over the Z Flip would be its larger exterior screen, which is more functional than the tiny 1.1-inch cover display Samsung gave the Galaxy Z Flip.
This may force Moto to compete more on pricing, because if the new Razr sports a similar $2,699 price tag, it could have a hard time garnering sales, especially with Samsung widely expected to launch a second-gen Galaxy Fold later this spring as well.
But what might be even more concerning is that XDA’s source didn’t mention if Moto would be making any changes to the Razr’s display, which at launch suffered from a handful of issues including creasing, cracking, and sometimes even a noisy hinge. And even with Samsung adding a layer of ultrathin flexible glass to the Z Flip, the long term durability of gadgets with flexible displays is still somewhat unknown.
Based on rumours and remarks made by Lenovo’s general manager for South Africa on a recent podcast, the new Razr seemed to be slated for a September release, though it’s unclear if that time frame could be delayed due to the ongoing impact of covid-19.
In my opinion, launching a refreshed Razr without improving its flexible screen tech is kind of unnecessary. The market for foldable gadgets just isn’t big enough where simple spec bumps that don’t address larger design concerns aren’t really necessary, and I’d rather see phone makers spend their resources focusing on larger generational leaps.
That said, if Moto can get the Razr’s price down to $1,600 or less, that could go a long way towards making foldable phones a more reasonable alternative to today’s traditional metal and glass bricks. So either way, it’ll be interesting to see which route Moto takes as we get closer to the refreshed Razr’s expected release date later this spring.