Faster, Thinner, Smarter, Stronger: It’s Motorola’s Droid RAZR

Oct. 18, 2011
Only rarely do I get to cover big consumer-electronics events; I just got back from a fun one. Motorola Mobility and Verizon teamed here in New York to roll out Motorola's latest smart phone, the Droid RAZR.

Only rarely do I get to cover big consumer-electronics events; I just got back from a fun one. Motorola Mobility and Verizon teamed here in New York to roll out Motorola's latest smart phone, the Droid RAZR. At just 7.1 mm thin and weighing in at 127 grams, the Razr is touted as the world's thinnest smart phone. What's even more remarkable is that the phone will be available from Verizon (pre-orders starting on Oct. 27; available in November for $299) for its 4G LTE network. Out of the box, the phone will run Android 2.3.5; no word on any pending update to Ice Cream Sandwich. And bad news for the Android hacking community: the bootloader will be locked. (Check out colleague Bill Wong's take on the Droid RAZR here)

We're talking about a seriously sleek, well-built device. I had one in my hands and it is a dandy! It's almost *too* light and thin; you almost wish it had a little more heft. But it packs amazing technology: a 4.3" AMOLED screen (very nice) that's an Advanced qHD display (the RAZR will be the first device to download full HD videos from Netflix). It's powered by a 1.2-GHz dual-core CPU and comes with 1 GB of RAM. The phone also packs an 1800-mAh battery, the largest that I've heard of in a smart phone. Motorola is claiming 12.5 hours of talk time and 8.9 hours of video playback time. There's an 8 Mpixel rear camera and 1080p HD video capability.

When I say well-built, I'm referring to a laser-cut, woven Kevlar fiber back and a stainless-steel core. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. And the phone's internals are protected by a technology that Motorola calls "SplashGuard," which will essentially weather-proof the device. Go ahead, take it out in the rain. It won't care.

On the firmware side, an application called SmartActions implements seamless, automatic power management to optimize battery life. You can set up a profile that will help the phone know when to turn off functions like Bluetooth when they're no longer needed. Motorola claims that SmartActions will reap up to 30% more battery life.

The phone comes equipped with MotoCast, which is Motorola's answer to cloud technology. MotoCast enables seamless streaming/storage/sharing of files with a PC. Also included is a set of enterprise-ready business applications like GoToMeeting. Videoconferencing is taken care of by the phone's HD webcam.

The appetizer at this event was Motorola's MotoActv, which the company is calling the "ultimate fitness tracker." It's kind of a heart-rate monitor, GPS, and iPod Nano on steroids. Worn like a watch, the device couples with the new SF700 wireless headset to deliver clean, powerful playback of up to 4000 of your favorite workout tunes. Not only that, but the device syncs with your PC to closely monitor your workouts.

What's really cool is that the MotoActv is smart: It learns which tracks in your playlist motivate you to work the hardest and melds those tunes into a personal high-performance playlist. And, if you should get a call while you're out on a run with your MotoActv and your RAZR in a fanny pack, it'll know enough to seamlessly route that call to the SF700 headset. No muss, no fuss, just take that call without having to fumble for the phone!

On hand for the event were Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, as well as Marni Walden, chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. Celebrity firepower was supplied by ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, who told me that he loves the MotoActv and has been using it on his training runs of late, and The Biggest Loser's Bob Harper, who is looking forward to getting the MotoActv on the wrists of the show's contestants.

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