Motorola has revived its slim Razr flip phone, some 15 years after the original “game changing” device hit the market.
The new device features a 6.2in screen which folds together when closed, with another, smaller screen to display notifications on its outer shell.
The device will be sold for $1,500, starting in the US on 26 December, with other markets coming later.
“In the current era of similar looking black rectangular phones with touch screens, the new Motorola Razr has the potential to bring some excitement back into the market,” said Ben Wood, from CCS Insight.
“I have little doubt that Lenovo will struggle to keep up with demand as soon as it is available to buy.”
Reports prior to the device’s launch suggested only 200,000 units would be available – but the company would not confirm this.
Motorola is describing its new Razr as an “impossible” feat of engineering, with a fold that closes flush against the other side. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, by contrast, has a considerable gap between each screen when folded.
Motorola’s intent to release its first foldable device became apparent at the beginning of this year when the firm’s application for a patent was discovered by mobile phone news blog 91 Mobiles.
The firm said the new Razr was water resistant, though in an attempt to reassure consumers, Motorola said its screen could be replaced free of charge within 24 hours, while the product is still under warranty.
The new Razr will become the first flip phone – or “clam shell” – to make use of a foldable screen. When shut, the device has a thickness of 14mm. The original Razr was 13.9mm.
At its developers’ conference in October, Samsung teased a similar vertically-folding phone on stage, but did not offer any specifics, saying it was simply “exploring” the idea.
Tumbling market share
The slow emergence of foldable devices presents an opening for the more minor players in the sector to release a breakthrough device, just as Motorola did in 2004 with its original Razr, famed for its slim build and metallic aesthetic.
“The Motorola Razr V3 was an extraordinary device,” recalled Mr Wood.
But then the iPhone arrived. Motorola’s market share fell of a cliff – from 21.4% in 2007, to 13.9% just a year later. It has been mostly falling ever since, to around 2% today.