Moto Razr May Rise From Dead as Foldable Phone

Dutch tech blog Mobielkopen brings a ray of hope to every user who is tired of surfboard-sized phones: a detailed patent application filed this week at the US Patent and Trademark Office may indicate that Motorola could bring back the Moto Razr as a foldable screen phone.

Credit: Lenscap Photography/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Lenscap Photography/Shutterstock)

Released in 2004, the Razr V3 was an ultra-thin flip phone with a futuristic design as sharp as its stupidly collapsed moniker implied. It fit easily in anyone’s pocket and everyone wanted to have it. After a brief time as an expensive “fashion cell”, it became a popular phone that brought a failing Motorola back to life to compete against the Nokias and Sony Ericssons of this world--which back then had the hegemony in the cellphone market.

Then the iPhone arrived and everyone wanted a piece of that action. But something happened after some years: smartphones started to grow. Uncontrollably. The iPhone 4 was arguably the last phone that made sense from an anatomical point of view: a phone that any human can easily use with only one hand and fit perfectly in anypocket.

Which is perhaps why Motorola is thinking about bringing back the Razr with a foldable display. And it is thinking about it hard enough to file a trademark that includes extremely detailed diagrams showing how this phone works, complete with its satisfying spring-loaded opening mechanism.

The patent fits the words of the CEO of Lenovo, which owns Motorola: “With the new technology, particularly foldable screens, I think you will see more and more innovation on our smartphone design," Yang Yuanqing told Techradar, "so hopefully what you just described [the Motorola Razr brand] will be developed or realized very soon.”

Regardless of what happens with this foldable-screen Razr, Yuanqing is very right about what new technology can bring to the table right now. With bezel-less and foldable screens, manufacturers have the opportunity to reduce overall phone size while keeping displays bigger than the original smartphones. 

It certainly feels like the market pendulum is about to start swinging towards the other side, despite the success of new huge phones that could double as medieval shields. The incoming wave of well being features in iOS and Android designed to reduce screen usage, the fact that people are realizing that they don’t need cinemascope screens to enjoy their phones, and the higher power consumption of big phones are all factors that are creating a hunger for cells that are much smaller than today’s oversized brutes.

That’s why Samsung is working hard developing a foldable compact phone. So is Huawei, which wants to claim that throne too. And now, it seems like Motorola may be going for it too, with a familiar design that was a huge hit back in the day. If Apple had the guts to introduce a full-screen model the size of the iPhone SE, the circle would be complete.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.