Today Motorola announced a rejuvenation of their latest premium brand, Droid RAZR. It was about one year ago that the company announced the reincarnation of the once-ubiquitous RAZR brand with the original Droid RAZR. It was a bit of an experiment, as the smartphone-buying population has changed from the featurephone-buying population of ten years ago. But luck was on their side, and today, the Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX are two of the hottest selling smartphones in the world of Android. And for good reason: they have great hardware, great battery life, and “thinner-than-the-other-guy” form factors. Plus, they have LTE, which is helpful especially when Verizon continues to rapidly expand their LTE coverage.
Many might be underwhelmed by the new Droid RAZR M, RAZR HD, and RAZR MAXX HD (the marketing guys at Moto seem to love capital letters): they are predictable, evolutionary upgrades. Instead of a pretty fast dual-core CPU, we get a faster dual-core CPU. Instead of a qHD smallish screen, we get a larger 720p screen (in the case of the latter two models). Instead of great battery life, we get even better battery life. We sort of got an edge-to-edge display as was rumored (Motorola claims to have stretched the displays as much as possible on the current hardware), but not a radical futuristic edge-to-edge display that many of us dream of.
So why didn’t we get a crazy superphone with breakthrough screen technology that would make for a borderless display? Keep in mind that Verizon is trying to sell voice and data plans. Motorola is trying to sell phones. Both have reason to believe that their existing formula is working, so why would they change it? Why would they risk the acclaimed and proven Droid RAZR brand by releasing a leapfrog product, when they can just come up with an incremental (albeit boring) upgrade to already-successful products?
And if you were hoping that Google’s ownership of Motorola would result in the hardware company making breakthrough Android phones so soon, you were let down. By being a part of Google, the new RAZR phones will join the Nexus devices by getting new versions of Android sooner. But as we’ve learned from Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus, when you get a carrier involved, updates happen much slower. It was interesting to see that the new RAZR devices would be the first Android phones to have the Chrome browser pre-installed as the default browser, but that was an obvious (and easy!) thing for Google to do. Over time, given the time it takes to create, implement, and test new technologies, we’ll see Motorola pull ahead of the pack by bringing forth true innovation as part of Google. But it hasn’t even been a year since the acquisition was finalized. It’s very likely that these three phones were in the making as long as 18 months ago.
So while we didn’t get an amazing, jaw-dropping superphone from Motorola today, it’s no wonder. What do you think?