NEW YORK – Google, Motorola and Verizon Wireless used an updated love song to introduce three new Android smartphones-the Droid Razr M, the Droid Razr HD and the Droid Razr Maxx HD-at a Sept. 5 event in Manhattan.
For the wireless industry, which has been waiting (bracing?) to see quite what the Android maker has planned for the ailing but history-rich phone maker it began acquiring in September 2011 for $12.5 billion, the ’70s anthem may have rung out more like a warning: “We’ve only just begun.”
Dennis Woodside, the former Googler now heading Motorola, put a finer point on it. “The new Motorola starts today,” he said.
The phones are the first to ship with Google’s Chrome browser, will leave the factory running Ice Cream Sandwich but be upgraded to Android 4.1, known as “Jelly Bean,” by year’s end, and seek to emphasize three areas: speed, power management and gorgeous displays.
While Motorola’s Droid Razr has been a success, said Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s senior vice president of product management, it “challenged itself” to do more in a smaller form factor and the result was the Razr M. Like the Droid Razr it features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) display, but in a body that’s shorter and narrower than the original Droid Razr’s. According to Osterloh, it has “40 percent more screen area than the iPhone 4S.”
The Razr M also runs a dual-core processor, features Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and near-field communication (NFC) technology, is Kevlar strong, has a rear-facing 8MP camera and a 2000mAh battery-long-lasting enough to stream 20 hours of music.
The Razr M will be available for pre-order as of Sept. 5 and for sale Sept. 13 through Verizon Wireless for $99. But that price shouldn’t suggest this is a lower-end phone, Tami Erwin, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, told the crowd, explaining that “customers expect value from our partnership.”
For those users who might have eyes for a Samsung Galaxy S III, Motorola created the Droid Razr HD, “the most compact, big-screen smartphone,” said Osterloh. It features a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED high-definition display that boasts 78 percent more pixels than competing devices, 85 percent more color saturation than the iPhone 4S and 40 percent greater battery capacity than the original Droid Razr.
In benchmark tests, it reportedly runs Chrome 40 percent faster than the iPhone runs Safari, and it features a 2,500mAh battery, which is enough for 16 hours of talk time.
The Droid Razr Maxx HD is essentially the Razr HD with a battery boost. Said to last 32 hours of “normal use,” it can play 13 hours of video or see a user through 21 hours of conversation. It runs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, a microSD card that supports up to 32GB of storage and can share its LTE connection with up to eight other devices. There’s again LTE and NFC, a front-facing camera for video calls, Kevlar fiber and water-repellent nano-coating on the back, a Gorilla Glass display, and other expected Google software, such as Maps, You Tube and Voice Actions for Android.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, helping to kick off the event, shared that Google is now activating more than 1.3 million Android phones each day. Being involved in the mobile industry, at the scale it wanted to be, was the reason behind Google’s purchase of Motorola, he explained.
“There’s something about the Android OS and its approach that has become so much greater than I expected,” he said, “and that’s why we needed Motorola.”