Mobile

Razer may be making a phone

A cutting-edge handset or a branding exercise, though?

17-razer-blade-stealth-2016.jpg

The Razer Blade laptop was the first breakout product from the company outside its PC peripheral roots.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's been a long time since Razer was satisfied building merely gaming mice, keyboards, and headphones. Every January, the company shows off a crazy new computer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas -- remember the three-screen laptop? -- and now, Bloomberg reports Razer is working on a phone as well.

We don't know much about the device, mind you -- only that it could be "a mobile device tailored for its consumer base of hardcore gamers," according to Bloomberg's multiple anonymous sources.

Razer declined to comment.  

If true, a Razer phone wouldn't be too surprising a development. In January, Razer purchased Nextbit, the tiny 30-person manufacturer of the Nextbit Robin smartphone, and immediately stopped sales of that device. Nextbit's team included veterans of Google and HTC, including longtime HTC design director Scott Croyle, whose LinkedIn and Twitter pages suggest he may still work for the company.

"As for future products," Nextbit CEO Tom Moss told CNET at the time, "I'm strictly forbidden from breathing a word about them." Moss' LinkedIn page currently lists him as Razer's senior vice president and general manager of mobile.

Notably, Razer also announced a partnership with European (and Hong Kong) cellular carrier Three back in May.

Now Playing: Watch this: Storage, schmorage. The Robin phone archives your stuff...
1:25

But if Razer is building a phone, should we expect it to be a flagship handset for smartphone buyers around the world? I wouldn't be so sure. Razer has a long track record of revealing ambitious product ideas that never make it to market or only see extremely limited release, and it also sometimes lends its brand and design chops to other companies.

Bloomberg suggests that one reason Razer is gearing up to take the company public (in Hong Kong) is to raise funds to build a phone -- hinting that Razer's serious about the idea -- but it also wouldn't be too surprising if the handset turns out to be a branding exercise. 

Years ago, Razer co-founder Robert Krakoff told me the company didn't need to sell a single one of its pricey new mice to be successful. Its legions of fans across Asia would purchase far cheaper mice and swag based on the brand alone -- and each new aspirational product, like the Mamba mouse with its then-unheard-of $130 price, would make the brand that much stronger.

Razer also purchased audio brand THX last year.

Logging Out: Welcome to the crossroads of online life and the afterlife.

Virtual reality 101: CNET tells you everything you need to know about VR.