In today’s cellular news, the iPhone 3G has officially surpassed the RAZR as the most sold consumer handset. Let me repeat that just in case you did not understand, the Motorola RAZR, with all its shortcomings, was the most sold consumer handset, until today. Granted the statistics refer to the whole RAZR lineup, which includes some pretty decent models, like the RAZR MAXX V6 and the RAZR 2, but all in all, the RAZR really has nothing to offer in today’s market. Someone please explain to me how Motorola managed to milk that cow so long.
The way I see it, there are a few possible explanations. The first one is that the RAZR was the first to offer the slim form factor, and until every other phone copied it, the RAZR was pretty innovative in its slimness. There is no debating that functionality aside, the RAZR was and still is one sexy handset. However, attractive as it might be, that does not explain how its success lasted this long. I mean, the thing has a 2MP camera at most, not even going to mention any form of GPS.
The second possibility of how the RAZR stayed on top this long is the other aspect of this blog, Motorola’s marketing. I do not know the numbers, but I feel like Motorola must have spent a fortune on marketing the whole RAZR concept. Whether it is on ads, like the one below, or the coincidental use of the RAZR by all sorts of TV and movie heroes, it would be interesting to know the total amount spent on RAZR campaigns by Motorola.
Before I share with you my personal opinion, let me just tell you what else was on the list. The top 5 consumer handsets were:
- Apple iPhone 3G
- Motorola RAZR V3 (all models)
- RIM Blackberry Curve (all models)
- LG Rumor
- LG enV2
If you ask me to explain the RAZR’s success (if you are still reading this, then you are asking me), and I want to believe this to be true, I would say that consumers are finally starting to prefer function over form, and choosing the iPhone 3G over the RAZR is how it implements itself. The fact that the first iPhone did not take the thrown away from the RAZR means that it is not the iPhone’s looks but rather its functionality that does it for consumers.
I do think that the RAZR was the first of its kind and there were not many alternatives for consumers when the original RAZR was announced, but today when there are an endless number of esthetically pleasing handsets to choose from, people are actually choosing phones that provide functionality and not only good looks.
If you need proof of this theory, just check out Cnet’s 5 most wanted gadgets and tell me number 1 is not pure “function over form”. If you are too lazy to watch (spoiler coming up), the most coveted gadget by Cnet users is the G1, one of the ugliest phones around. I don’t think there is anyone out there that will claim that the G1 is anywhere nearly as nice as the iPhone and yet it was number 1 and the iPhone number 6. I rest my case, no further questions, your honor.