It's hard for me to reminisce the days of the RAZR. Sure, I was around and just as in love with phones then as I am now, but I never owned a RAZR myself. Even so, there's no denying the impact that single phone had on the entire market and world. In fact, it was the reason Motorola was only one-foot-in on the smartphone market while others were diving in head first.
Eventually, Motorola moved on and bid adieu to their ever-popular RAZR, only to take Android under their wing and help in making it the most popular mobile operating system in the world. The original DROID, with the help of the awesome marketing campaign from Verizon, kick-started the Android movement, and got us to where we are today: Android-crazed.
Since then, however, Android handset manufacturers have entered themselves in an arms race: throwing quality control to the wind, perpetually releasing monotonous, incrementally updated phones, and unnecessarily boosting specifications. They've been fighting tooth and nail to release the biggest, baddest, fastest phone, but have clearly lost sight of what's truly important. Throwing together a heavyweight spec sheet without regard to build quality, design or differentiation leaves you with a sloppy product, at best, and taints the name of Android.
While I wouldn't necessarily rush to the conclusion that all Motorola phones are sloppy, Motorola is clearly guilty of participating in the arms race, too. Take the DROID X2, DROID 3 and BIONIC, for instance. They were all released within four months of each other with very few differences between them (excluding the slide-out keyboard on the DROID 3, of course).
And today, a little over one month after the release of the BIONIC, Motorola teamed up with Verizon to present their newer, even better phone, a phone that's "too powerful to fall in the wrong hands," the DROID RAZR. The RAZR sports a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced qHD (960 by 540 pixels) display, 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage, a 16GB microSD card, an 8-megapixel rear shooter capable of 1080p video recording, an HD front-facing camera, Verizon LTE and a 1,780 mAh battery.
Spec-wise, the RAZR isn't that much better than the BIONIC. We pretty much knew this prior to the announcement, and I've always questioned why Motorola even bothered with the BIONIC in the first place. The RAZR's processor is clocked 200MHz faster on each core, the two phones have the same RAM, same built-in memory, the same (as far as we know) shooter, the same connectivity ... you get the picture. The only feature that is arguably worth noting as "better" is the Super AMOLED Advanced display, and even that is rather subjective. (Here's to hoping it's not PenTile ...)
The real difference in the RAZR, however, is the name, design and durability. The name is something we can all relate to and feel comfortable with. More or less, I think it's a sign from Motorola that they're going back to their roots, back to when design outweighed specs.
And what about design? This where Motorola has thrown their hardest punches with the DROID RAZR. I hate to sound fanboyish at all, but this phone is an engineering feat, to say the least. They have managed to cram some of the most powerful features ever seen in a smartphone to date into the thinnest package (7.1mm) yet, without sacrificing LTE connectivity, battery capacity or durability.
I must admit that I'm beginning to reconsider my too thin theory. Not only did Motorola manage to cut any and all unnecessary space and weight, they somehow managed to make it one of the most durable smartphones around as well. The core is composed of stainless steel, the back is made of woven Kevlar fiber and the display is covered in Corning's Gorilla Glass. It's not bulletproof (at least I don't think it is), but it's hopefully more durable than your average smartphone. Then again, all of those claims could be a piece of clever marketing.
With Ice Cream Sandwich just hours away, which is believed to bring hardware-accelerated graphics and a higher level of performance to all Android handsets, hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit. Maybe HTC and Samsung, too, will take a break from cramming every last spec they can conjure up into a phone and put a little more care into the design, top to bottom (Nexus phones excluded).
If only they could focus on releasing less than 30 phones per year now ...
I have vowed to only buy Nexus Android phones for personal use moving forward, but if the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus Prime doesn't live up to the hype or my expectations, the RAZR will be mine. In fact, if the rumors of a Verizon exclusive are true, I may be at a loss. The only thing that may play a major part in my decision is Motorola Applications Platform versus vanilla Android, and Gingerbread versus ICS.
What say you, pups? How do you feel about the DROID RAZR? Has it stolen your attention from the pending Nexus? Can it change the Android game, and will it be as popular as the RAZRs before it? Or is it something we will soon forget in light of bigger, better phones?