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Motorola Resurrects the RAZR

Wed, 10/19/2011 - 8:51am
Maisie Ramsay

Motorola Mobility has revived its RAZR brand for a new super-thin Android smartphone that will launch next month with Verizon Wireless.

The new smartphone invokes a handset line that gave the company major success in the handset business - success that dropped off after consumers began flocking to the iPhone. The company is now banking on Android smartphones to recapture its rise to the top.

"When we started thinking about developing a new smartphone, we thought about creating not just a true object of desire, but what does it take to make the best smartphone on the planet," Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said at the device's unveiling yesterday.

The "impossibly thin" RAZR lives up to its moniker at just 7.1 millimeters thick. Despite its slim body, the smartphone packs in some serious processing power with a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, and has both front- and rear-facing cameras for mobile video chat. It comes with Android 2.3 but will be reportedly upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich early next year.

Motorola New RAZRThe RAZR also sports a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced touchscreen which Jha claimed has "higher contrast ration and better color saturation than iPhone 4S."

Its massive display, processing power and LTE connectivity raise some obvious questions about battery life. Jha tried to head off those concerns, claiming the RAZR's battery supports more than 12 hours of voice calls over a 3G connection and nearly nine hours of video viewing. The phone also comes preloaded with software to keep the device's power consumption to a minimum.

Motorola also paid special attention to design details, outfitting the device with Kevlar fiber, Gorilla Glass and a splash-guard coating to help protect the RAZR from damage.

"Not only is it a marvel of engineering, but it is beautiful," Jha said.

The RAZR goes up for pre-order at Verizon on Oct. 27 and costs $299 with a new two-year contract. The phone is expected to be available in November. Users will be able to pick from a smorgasbord of accessories targeted at business users, from laptop docks to standalone keyboards.

Motorola also unveiled the Motoactv, a fitness watch that looks a bit like the iPod Nano. The gadget uses headphones with built-in heart rate monitors to track a user's athletic performance and comes loaded with software that will change music tracks to motivate the wearer to work harder. Motoactv works with Android smartphones, allowing users to answer calls and receive texts during their workouts.

Motoactv will launch with Verizon and retail stores like Best Buy next month and will become available in Latin America and Europe early next year. The device costs $249 for the 8GB version and $299 for the 16 GB version. The headphones are sold separately and start at $149.

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