The Motorola Razr V3 made its debut 10 years ago this week when then-CEO Ed Zander displayed the handset during an investor's conference.
Not since Moto introduced the StarTac in 1996 did the company, or any manufacturer for that matter, sweep the world with such a hot and trend-setting mobile phone. The never-seen-before design drew long lines and sparked the thin phone revolution that swept the industry. A thousand imitators followed, and even today in the age of the smartphone, a passion for trim handsets persists.
Motorola would go on to ride the Razr wave longer than it should have by painting versions in almost every color and introducing subsequent upgrades that added features and tweaked the profile. The company even carried the thin theme over to candy-bar (the Slvr) and slider handsets (the Rizr) while dropping vowels in the process. Finally, after the iPhone and Android hit their strides, Moto would change course and instead apply the Razr name to its flagship line of Android smartphones. such as the Droid Razr Maxx.
Ten years later, the Razr V3 remains a striking example of industrial design and one of the defining phones of the past decade. Join us for a tour through the Razr V3's history.
The one that started it all, the original silver V3 didn't go on sale until the third quarter of 2004. And even then, it was only at Cingular (now AT&T), in the United States. Price with service? A princely $500.
From the beginning, the real appeal of the Razr V3 lay its its design. Though angular and wide from the front, it was just a half an inch thick and weighed 3.3 ounces. Sure, the flat keypad was new and a bit weird, but you got used to it quickly. And despite its trim stature, the metal skin made it durable.
Inside the V3 had midrange features for its time -- just about everything you needed, but it was far from one of the year's powerhouse handsets. Features included a VGA camera (without video recording), Bluetooth, MP3 file support, voice dialing, and a speakerphone. The display was quite sharp and call quality was good, even if the volume was too low.
Though I was as excited as anyone to review the Razr v3, I have to admit that I didn't quite anticipate just how popular it would be. As the years went on, I was surprised.
By 2005, the Razr V3 arrived at more US carriers, and it landed in other countries. More versions came, as well. The V3c was for CDMA operators, while the V3i upped the camera resolution to 1.23-megapixels and added a microSD card slot.
You knew the Razr trend was getting ridiculous when this bright gold Dolce & Gabbana version appeared. It came in a bright gold box and included several accessories like a D&G logo phone dangle and a signature leather pouch. And on the campy side, it said "Dolce & Gabbana" when your turned it on.
You could also get a gold version without Dolce's stamp.
Announced in 2005, the 3G-capable V3x had a slightly thicker design with a new keypad, a better display, two cameras (including one with a 2-megapixel resolution), a camera flash, and a faster processor. The V3xx, which followed the next year, had stereo Bluetooth, an Opera Web browser, and improved call quality.