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MWC: Hands on with the RAZR HD and Motorola on being Google’s next success

Allan Swann
February 25, 2013

Until Google rescued Motorola with its buy out in late 2011, Motorola have been irrelevant in Europe for the best part of a decade.

The original RAZR feature phone was the 2003 product of the year. Most of the company’s moderate rebound successes (the RAZR MAXX HD, for example) also never got released here due to the UK’s absent 4G situation.  What is incredible is that Motorola have survived for so long, living off the fumes of its 80s and 90s past glories.

Last year’s Intel Atom based Razr i saw a small amount of interest, but having spent a bit of time with the new Razr HD, it looks like the worm is starting to turn.

Keeping mum on the Phone X possibility – but ‘something special’ is on its way

No one at Motorola would answer my ‘Phone X’ questions (the rumoured super secret phone that Google and Motorola Mobility are planning to launch at Google I/O in May/June) – although Vice President and General Manager of Motorola Europe’s Sales and Marketing Andrew Morley told What Mobile that something special is coming later in the year.

“We’re working on stuff that’s really cool for release later in the year. It is going to turn a lot of heads.”

Hands on with the RAZR HD

The RAZR HD actually looks pretty top shelf itself – even if it is 6 months old (it has been around in the US for a while, released last September).  It’s a ballsy decision by Motorola and Google’s top brass – to reduce a convoluted 15 phone product line down to just two – or, “fewer messages focused on fewer devices” tied to a tidy advertising campaign that the company plans to step up somewhat.

Mr Morley has been with the company for six years, but says what Google brings to the table in terms of vision is beyond the old Motorola’s ambitions.  Where Google brings the consumer focus the company had been lacking, Motorola brings the hardware nous. But more than that, Google also appears to have brought discipline – because the Motorola HD looks like a nice, tightly focused device. But it remains a stepping stone to better things – the lovely edge to edge screen is countered by the low 720p resolution screen.

Bearing in mind these are little more than first impressions, the RAZR HD is a lovingly built device. It keeps the fantastic kevlar industrial design of the Razr i – but retains a thinness that makes the phone a delight to handle. It doesn’t feel fragile, but it also doesn’t feel too chunky. It certainly doesn’t feel as terrible as some of Samsung’s plastic fantastic devices.

The camera appears to be ok, but again, at the rate the industry has been evolving its smartphone cameras – September last year makes it a bit archaic. It is worth noting shooting in the gloom of a giant conference centre is hardly fair.

Performance-wise it sports a Qualcomm dual core 1.5Ghz chip (about par for the course) and – my personal favourite – a whopper of a battery 2530mAh – while retaining that thin shell.

Morley would not be drawn on the pricing for the device – but given the aggressive pricing schemes it’s been using in the US (now as low as US$180) – expect the RAZR HD to hopefully match it.

To conclude, if the price is right and you need a spiffy looking (and performing) 4G phone, this could be a great mid-range option. But I am genuinely excited for whatever the next iteration of Razr HD is – a more high res screen on that body with some tweaks and running Jelly Bean would be a winner.

As Morley puts it;  “After what Google have done with brands like YouTube and Android, we’re excited about being its next success story.”

In other words, to be continued.

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