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Motorola Reinvents the RAZR 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the remember-when-clamshells-were-hip dept.
zacharye writes with news that Motorola has reinvented their popular RAZR clam-shell phone as an Android smartphone. The new device is 4G LTE-capable and 7.1mm thick, and it contains "a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, an LED flash, an HDMI-out port, noise cancellation capabilities, 16GB of built-in storage and a 16GB microSD card pre-installed." iFixit did a teardown of the phone, finding that the construction necessary for such thinness will make repairs problematic.
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Motorola Reinvents the RAZR

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:57PM (#38035994)

    How many people actually try to fix their own phones? Even on /. I have to imagine that the number is low.

    • by Calos (2281322) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:00PM (#38036022)

      I know a few people who have done LCD/glass swaps, that's really the biggest thing you can easily do. And it certainly beats buying a new phone...

    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:18PM (#38036160)

      Like putting in a new battery?

      Call me when they make it as simple as it is with my old school RAZR.

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:46PM (#38036366)

      I'd be more worried about heat generation than how to actually repair the thing. Sounds like it's very densely packed electronics, coupled with one of the fastest processors ever put into a phone. Even if the thing is 99% idle 99% of the time, that still runs the risk of the thing overheating at some point in its usable life.

      • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @04:20PM (#38036598)

        It's not as thin as the summary (or article) would imply - there is a big-ass bulge at the top of the device that apparently holds the speakers and camera. I don't know how they get away with selling as 7.1mm thick. They also made the unit wider than other phones with the same size screen, presumably because they needed the space. I haven't used one, but unless you have large hands, one-handed operation is supposedly difficult because of the width.

      • by mikael (484)

        It's known as "Systems-On-A-Chip". If you were to make the system out of standalone ASIC's it would be the size of a laptop or netbook. Put all the transistor logic like CPU cores microcontrollers, codecs, and hardware interface logic onto a single chip, add a small screen, you get a smartphone.

        Unlike a PC, specific parts of the chip only get power when they are used. Less power is needed because there aren't any long distance interconnects between ASIC chips. All of those help to keep things cool.

        On my old

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      It doesn't matter if it's harder to fix, it's made Kevlar strong and waterproof it's a lot less likely to break. I'm a bit disappointed in /. this is a month old story about a pretty cool phone (if the iphone had those specs we would never hear the end of it), and they don't even report on one of it's biggest strengths, it's really tough.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:57PM (#38036000) Homepage

    Aren't they meant to be disposable? I thought you just threw them away when they became obsolete after six months.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've never known anybody to just throw away a smartphone that works. They pack them away in a drawer, sell them or hand them down, but never throw away.

      My sister is still using a 2g iPhone with no intention of upgrading as long as it works.

      • by camperdave (969942) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @04:28PM (#38036660) Journal
        I'm still using a 10+ year old Handspring Visor. Unfortunately, it's literally falling apart, and I'll need to find a new PDA. Some of these smartphones look interesting. The various stores around here want to sell me a cell package first, and from there I get to choose a phone, rather than letting me choose a phone, then choosing a cell package. Is that normal? It seems backwards to me.
        • if you want inexpensive and reliable, i loved the Kyocera Zio - you can probably find it without cell service, and with cricket its 60/mo unlimited everything. Bottom line, the device is slower, but has a BEAUTIFUL 800x480 screen that fits in your hand, and that, and price, make it my fav. phone and most recommended, by me.

      • by Anonymus (2267354) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:44PM (#38037038)

        The RAZR was not even remotely a smart phone. In fact, if anything is deserving of the term dumb phone, it does. The original Razr was essentially one of the lowest quality cell phones you can imagine, with out-of-date technology and terrible software design, combined with a gargantuan marketing blitz (take a look at some movies and television shows, and even celebrity news articles, for the two years following its release).

        I actually owned one because, if nothing else, it was the nicest looking phone for the price. Using it was painful, though.

        • the thing was as slow as molasses! oh my god, just flipping through numbers was a royal pain. Looks were all it had - and we. the public loved it. Says more about us then the phone ;(

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Wait you guys have 6 monthly phone contracts?

      We keep ours for 2 years before we get given a choice of new phone for "free" from the phone company.

      • by zoloto (586738)
        I pity people locked into contracts.
        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          It's not really locked in. We can buy out any phone contract. We just need to pay off the remainder of the phone in the progress.

          I pitty people who actually pay for their phones. Where I live pre-paid phone contracts are overpriced. I used to pay $30/month for $30 worth of calls, and 60 free txt messages. Now I pay $30/month, I got a free smartphone, and $180 worth of calls at the same rate as previously.

          If my phone were to drop into the toilet today I would have to pay about $200 to buy out the remainder o

  • I don't know whether to be impressed by their gall or appalled at their ignorance. More likely the latter; to the marketing types who come up with this kind of gimmick, anything that happened more than five minutes ago is one with Ninevah and Tyre.

    (And yes, I know it was 11:00 in 1918. Somehow that makes this worse, not better.)

  • by Renraku (518261)

    Why would anyone want HDMI on their phones? Are the phones really powerful enough to output an HD signal to TVs that people would want to watch?

    • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by LilWolf (847434) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:11PM (#38036102)
      Simply put, yes.

      My HTC Desire Z plays the 720p videos it records beautifully on a big TV. No reason why similar things can't be achieved with 1080p.
    • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by john.r.strohm (586791) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:13PM (#38036116)

      With "a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, 16GB of built-in storage and a 16GB microSD card pre-installed", off the top of my head I'd say "Dern tootin' it is powerful enough!"

      It hasn't been that many years since that would have been a supercomputer filling a large room, doing really nice ray-traced imagery. It is a fairly respectable desktop machine even today, except for the small disk drive. (And multi-gigabyte disk drives haven't been around THAT long.)

      A cluster of those puppies, with a big disk server attached, would probably be really nice for doing, uhhh, "stellar lifecycle modeling" on the cheap.

      • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Funny)

        by friedman101 (618627) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:38PM (#38036306)
        Imagine a Beowulf cluster of them
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by fahrbot-bot (874524)

          Imagine a Beowulf cluster of them

          Still might fit in your pocket (or purse/backpack). Might make for nice bar chatter...
          "Say... Is that a Beowulf Cluster in your pants or are you just happy to see me?"

          • "Say... Is that a Beowulf Cluster in your pants or are you just happy to see me?"

            "I don't know, but it's making me hot - in fact I think I'm on fire!"

        • I can. Looks a lot like the 20 cars in front of me on the drive home.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by g00ey (1494205)
        > It is a fairly respectable desktop machine even today

        I hope you do realize that you cannot compare it to a desktop computer just by looking at the specs. A desktop computer with the same performance as this phone would be pretty awful.

        As for the hard drives, the first multi-gigabyte hard drives came somewhere before the mid nineties but it took a few years before they reached the consumer market. I bought my first multi-gig hard drive 1997 and that particular model had been around for at least a year
      • by evilviper (135110)

        It is a fairly respectable desktop machine even today, except for the small disk drive.

        Even WITH all the extensive DSP functions added into these ARM chips, I'll still put an Intel / AMD processor up against a similarly clocked ARM chip absolutely any day. That leaves the phone you're describing perhaps faster than my laptop from close to a decade ago, but that's about it... I'd put my money on a P4 to run circles around it (assuming a decent video card). Phones only FEEL fast because the software is so

        • I will say that I run a Motorola Atrix, and yes I have the laptop dock. Yes, mine is overclocked to 1.3Ghz rather than the stock 1.0Ghz, but I will say as a desktop machine it's pretty damned awesome. It runs the basics I need on a daily basis, and with some hacks in place I have terminal sessions and apt-get that I can use to install arbitrary software. I'm also running the "WebTop" environment from my SD card so I have more space.

          I can do about 90% of everything I ever need to do in that environment. I ca

          • by evilviper (135110)

            I generally agree Android devices are great and can do a hell of a lot, but it's not anywhere close to 90% of the utility of a laptop. As someone else said, they're closer to thin clients, which is a great thing, no doubt, but even there they are only 90% of the way there... ConnectBot crashes quite a bit, and there's still no NX Client for Android. Cisco Anyconnect is available, but ONLY if you root your device.

            Many things I can get just BARELY functioning on my Android phone, but rather fragile and hav

    • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nyall (646782) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:19PM (#38036164) Homepage

      Yes they are powerful enough.
      Second, some people want to use their tv as a slide show projector.
      Third, its an extra feature for those people out there who shop based on feature lists.
      Fourth it creates a need for people to buy a mini HDMI to full size converter. Even if its just to experiment with and never use again.

    • by Spirilis (3338)

      As mentioned, yes, but additionally these things have "WebTop" which is some ARM-compiled distro of Ubuntu with firefox and maybe a few others running on that HDMI port. Looking at a ps listing on one of these you'll see "/usr/bin/Xorg" running.

    • Not only are they powerful enough, they're getting even more powerful (well, as I'm sure you guessed...).

      The iPhone 4 and higher end Android phones are capable of 3D graphics performance that can look like a current-generation console (concessions are made, but clever design can make that non-obvious), and they do it at nigh-HD resolutions. In just a short couple of years, we're going to have phones that meet or beat the consoles currently attached to TVs. Certainly, more powerful consoles will be out by

      • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @08:51PM (#38038082)

        And to follow that post ... ARM announces its next-gen GPU, the snappily named Mali-T658.

        The is the followup to the GPU that's used in the Galaxy S2, and is up to 10x the performance. The old chip supported 2 cores, this one supports 4, each core being twice the perf of the previous model, and as usual, can turn cores on or off depending on the power requirements.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15668347 [bbc.co.uk]

        The firm claims the new technology will offer battery-powered mobile handsets roughly the same graphics performance as Sony's Playstation 3 console,

        but the bit I liked best: "At the moment many of the speech recognition applications that are out there are solely relying on the CPU," said Mr Davies. "Very few are taking advantage of the acceleration of the GPU - and that's clearly an area of growth for us."

    • by icebike (68054)

      Why would anyone want HDMI on their phones? Are the phones really powerful enough to output an HD signal to TVs that people would want to watch?

      Powerful enough?
      Absolutely.
      Or to your computer monitor.
      It doesn't take a lot of power. Its just a digital signal down a wire.

      The question of merit is your first one: WHY.

      HDMI chips are incredibly cheap, usually built into the processor itself. They sort of fall out processor design as a freebe.
      Practical use is almost nil.

      You might find an occasional opportunity to shoot the video on the phone of the kids birthday party and play it back on the TV.
      But storing feature length film (or streaming them) from yo

      • Except for the fact that in a lot of places, data over the phione is faster than broadband. Use your phone to connct to Netflix. Watch on your account at your friend's house.

        Or, using a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, use the phone for graphics design for your Make-A-Bot, or PCB layout.

        Next year is definitely NOT going to be the year of the desktop computer, Linux or otherwise.

        • by icebike (68054)

          But its just NOT done.

          And the data caps won't allow you to do that any time soon.

          All possible, yes. Maybe 10% of the buyers try it out once, but Nobody does it after that.
          Its just not done.

    • And yes, technically phones are powerful enough to do that.

      Just keep in mind that HD can mean multiple types of resolutions, and that usually phones are at the lower end of what's considered HD. And my phone for instance, the Sprint Evo 4G, which is already dated, and which was the first phone with a micro-HDMI port, can output full HDMI resolutions (after I rooted it and installed a custom Android ROM on it). Now I believe, rooting the phone is no longer needed on most Android-micro-HDMI phones to get the

    • by thsths (31372)

      Does it run PowerPoint? :-)

    • by cgenman (325138)

      If you didn't have a console, you could always plug that into your TV and watch Netflix.

  • Reinvented? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:05PM (#38036058)

    Seems a bit of an overstatement, how about slapped the Razr brand on a modern smartphone which isn't a clamshell.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Seems a bit of an overstatement, how about slapped the Razr brand on a modern smartphone which isn't a clamshell.

      Exactly. Kind of like handing someone a dishtowel and suddenly calling it a "Kleenex"...tends to promote a few "hey, what the hell?" responses...

  • by Millennium (2451) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:31PM (#38036244) Homepage

    Come on. Can't even one smartphone maker do a decent clamshell design? I've found the slide mechanism on slide-outs way too vulnerable to breakdowns, and the bar phones are even worse. When did the idea of a reliable case design that protects the important stuff go out of fashion?

  • by slaad (589282) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @03:53PM (#38036404)

    This probably would have been more informative yesterday when amazon was selling them for $111.11.

  • That's a Motorolla Photon with a keyboard!

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:31PM (#38036954)

    Big fat hairy deal. Sorry, but other than the iconic Razr this phone looks pretty standard fare.

    I actually like the original Razr. It was a super-flat fold phone with a sturdy metal body and a awesome keypad. And am quite sure it would still have a market if they'd continue to produce it. There are quite a few cellphone classics out there that probably would never die out and allways have customers. Motorolas Razr and the Siemens M35 being two of those.

    • I agree on the second part, disagree on the first part.

      Thin devices are awesome. sucks to grip them but i love the engineering that goes into making something that tiny.

    • by Rennt (582550)
      Oh, the M35! That thing kicked so much ass. I bought a lot of 10 of them as-is on ebay a few years ago, hoping I could patch together a working phone - no such luck :(
  • Its not the same phone, just yet another android phone. Yet another marketing gimmick.

  • ...the new RAZR is nothing like the V3[x]. I liked the V3. I still have two: the V3i and the V3r.

    Now all I need is a firmware update so I can use a 3G SIM in them...

  • The RAZR was a hot phone

    Perhaps, but most Motorola phones suck little black toads. Unreliable, restrictive, and unimaginative are the three words which first come to mind. Not unimaginative in visual design — the RAZR was certainly groundbreaking that way — but in function. They may have a lot of patents, but as I have posted before, Google are on a hiding to nothing if they think they're going to benefit from them.

    [...] the display on the DROID RAZR [...] still isn’t perfect

    That's going to kill it: it's one of the first things people look at. If it looks grainy compared with o

  • It may be 7.1mm thin, but it is also 11.1mm thick. It depends on where you measure. And dimensions are usually given at the widest point - otherwise they are absolutely arbitrary.

    So I would boycott it just for lying to the customer. And because I am perfectly happy with a budget android phone running CM7.1 (based on Android 2.3.7, not 2.3.5, ha!).

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