What happened to the RAZR?

On the way to work today, I heard an radio commercial selling the Motorola RAZR going for $49.95. This might have sparked some interest if I didn’t already know you can make $50 by getting a RAZR with contract. It is really hard to believe that less than two years ago, Bill and I were talking about how the RAZR would be the next StarTAC—he ended up getting a RAZR, though I didn’t.

motorola timeline

That’s why I loved reading the Low End Theory article on the RAZR that was posted today.

[My Motorola Memories after the jump.]

My Motorola Memories

I remember playing with a StarTAC in 1997 when Chicago-based Motorola came down to the University of Illinois to celebrate when the HAL 9000 became operational. (Yes, I’m a geek. I make no apologies.) I finally got one in 2000 when I started working full time in the Valley. It’s still being used by my father. Today’s phones make it look like a shoddily constructed giant of a cell phone (annoyingly useless whip antenna and all), but it was a piece to drool over in January of 1997. You can still find old publicity photos of people wearing their StarTAC. It occupies the #6 spot of PC World’s Greatest Gadgets list.

Motorola tried to capture that magic with the V-Series (smaller Startac with a battery life and fragility to match) and then the V60i (metallic shell, a hinge like a car door, reception like a Faraday cage). The StarTAC 2004, RAZR and now the PEBL mark other attempts.

The above article links a funny slam on the PEBL that is a must read. I remember showing Bill the PEBL concept phone when the RAZR came out two years ago. Too bad, Motorola put a RAZR keypad on the PEBL for branding reasons. It was better the way it was originally conceived.

I never got the PEBL either. At the end of the day, the lack of Caller ID on the outside of the clamshell is a deal-killer for the PEBL.

Cell phones may be art, but it is ephemeral. Practicality wins the day.

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