New York: Motorola Mobility is reviving its once-popular Razr brand to tout its latest gadget, the Droid Razr, as the world`s slimmest smartphone.
The company, which agreed to be bought by Google Inc for $12.5 billion, hopes to compete with arch-rival Apple Inc`s iPhone when it kicks off Droid Razr preorders at Verizon Wireless on October 27 and hits store shelves in November.
But the device, which sports a more powerful chip than the iPhone and faster wireless Web speeds, costs $299 compared with the $199 price tag for the latest iPhone 4S.
The Razr brand was hugely popular from 2004 to 2006 but by 2007 it had lost its buzz, forcing the company to back away from the brand and undergo a complete restructuring.
While the Droid Razr could draw some customers from iPhone at Verizon Wireless, NPD analyst Ross Rubin said it would be unlikely to be as big a hit as Motorola`s previous Razr, which sold more than 130 million units over several years.
Only about 10 percent of U.S. consumers would buy a $300 phone, Rubin said. "That`s a relatively small part of the market. At $199, it would be an explosive seller."
In addition to Apple, Motorola also has to contend with rivals Samsung Electronics Co and HTC Corp, which are expected to come out with new devices for Verizon`s fastest network before the end of November.
While Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton was impressed with the new phone, he was skeptical that it would put any dent in iPhone sales, particularly as Verizon Wireless is now selling last year`s iPhone 4 model for $99.
"Motorola seems to be holding its position at Verizon with that phone," he said but added, "I don`t think there`s room for any share gain there because iPhone isn`t going to give away share. Nor is Samsung or HTC."
Outside of the U.S. market, Motorola`s latest device will simply be called Razr. The company hopes to rekindle the allure of its original Razr, which was the thinnest flip phone on the market when it debuted in 2004.
While cutting-edge consumers had moved on from Razr by 2007, Motorola product manager Alain Mutricy said that the brand is still fresh in consumers` minds.
"Still today in the minds of people, Razr stood for the thinnest device of its time," and for elegant design, Mutricy told Reuters at an event where the device was unveiled.