Motorola Razr Coming Back as $1,500 Foldable Phone (Report)

The Razr is coming back, again. And this time, it'll be foldable.

Credit: VCG via Getty Images

(Image credit: VCG via Getty Images)

The once iconic Motorola phone will return to the market this year — possibly as soon as February — according to The Wall Street Journal. Motorola's parent company, Lenovo, has reportedly entered an exclusive partnership with Verizon to sell the handset, which could cost as much as $1,500.

The Journal's report, which cites anonymous individuals close to the matter, says Lenovo is eyeing a limited production run of about 200,000 for the foldable device. But it wouldn't be the first time Motorola resurrected the Razr name. Back in 2011, it partnered with Verizon to release the Droid Razr, which was the thinnest smartphone in the world at the time, measuring 7.1 millimeters thick.

We don't know much about the new Razr yet, as the handset's design and specs are still shrouded in mystery. If it turns out to be a foldable phone, the Razr would join an increasingly crowded field of phones with foldable displays. Last week at CES, we got our first extended look at Royole's FlexPai and Samsung's promised Galaxy F could debut in the months ahead, too.

It's also worth noting that Lenovo and Verizon have joined forces on a 5G Moto Mod for the Moto Z3, with that add-on set to arrive in the coming weeks. The 5G Moto Mod adds support for the new wireless standard to Motorola's 2018 flagship, making the Moto Z3 Verizon's first and likely only 5G smartphone for a limited time — at least until it's joined by other devices including a 5G-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus later in the year, tentatively called the S10 X.

The mobile arm of Motorola enjoyed one of its most prosperous periods with the original Razr line, which debuted in 2004. As the industry shifted to smartphones late in that decade, Motorola forged a close partnership with Google as one of the first device manufacturers to jump on the Android bandwagon. The Verizon-exclusive Droid series was a brief hit for the carrier, especially before Verizon began selling Apple's iPhones.

MORE: FlexPai Foldable Phone Hands-On: Flexible Meets Awkward

Unfortunately, Motorola subsequently endured something of an identity crisis, bouncing between corporate owners and shifting its focus from the premium end of the market to more budget-minded devices. Google took the phone maker under its wing from 2011 to 2014, before selling it off to Lenovo, which doubled down on emerging markets by greatly expanding Motorola's mid- and low-range offerings.

That makes the rumored decision to sell a limited-run, $1,500 foldable phone a strange one. Then again, it could be exactly what Motorola needs to breathe some enthusiasm back into its brand. The company failed to deliver a true flagship throughout 2018, opting instead to churn out a slightly-updated version of the modular Moto Z2 with the Snapdragon 835-powered and Verizon-exclusive Moto Z3.

The new Razr could either be just around the corner or a few months away, as The Wall Street Journal says that Lenovo hasn't finalized a release schedule yet. Should the device emerge in the spring, we may hear about it officially at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, which kicks off Feb. 25 — so stay tuned.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.