Can Motorola Rekindle the Glory Days With a Sharp Razr?

Glory days, well they'll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

-- "Glory Days," by Bruce Springsteen

Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) had its glory days about five years ago. The iPhone was just a glimmer in Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) eye, smartphones were either Palms or Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerrys, and the Motorola Razr family was the hottest consumer model on the market.

Can you blame Motorola for wanting to relive that dazzling memory? Today, the company introduced the Droid Razr -- an Android smartphone under the Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) umbrella with a serious dash of the old Razr's top-shelf design magic.

This crazy little thing is vanishingly thin and light, covered in Kevlar fiber and Corning's (NYSE: GLW  ) Gorilla Glass for extra protection and can run with the best of the performance bulls. The Razr runs on Verizon's 4G network and sports an OLED screen using technology from Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL  ) and likely Samsung's actual hardware.

Preorders will start by the end of October, asking $299 per unit with a two-year contract. That just happens to be exactly what Apple charges for an iPhone 4S with the same amount of memory, meaning that Motorola thinks it can compete with Siri on an even playing field.

Good luck with that, I guess. There's no doubt that the Droid Razr is a slick piece of hardware, and it does stand out somewhat in the sea of Androids thanks to the Kevlar detailing and ultra-slim profile. But I think Motorola and prospective parent Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) will find out that the Razr name isn't as bankable or memorable as they had hoped. A Razr by any other name smells exactly the same.

An iPhone-killer, this is not. Power to improve the fortunes of a handset maker that shipped just 4.4 million smartphones in the second quarter, it might be. Matter to investors it certainly will not -- share prices are stuck thanks to Google's firm buyout offer. (Leave me alone, Yoda!)

Maybe Motorola wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. The real razzle-dazzle in the mobile industry is far less glitzy, though. Would you rather have a Kevlar case, or a wholesale revolution on payment services using nothing but your trusty smartphone? That's what I thought. Check out a free video report that explains why your credit card will be obsolete in the blink of a young girl's eye.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, Universal Display, and Corning and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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