THE tech firm Binatone is preparing to release a new version of the iconic RAZR flip phone called the Blade – and we’ve managed to get our hands on a leaked prototype.
News of the Blade’s existence was first revealed last week when tech journalist and mobile phone entrepreneur Simon Rockman claimed to have bought an early version of the gadget from eBay.
He gave The Sun Online exclusive photos of his Blade as well as his thoughts on the retro-styled phone, which you can read later on in this article.
This morning, Binatone confirmed the existence of the Blade and described it as being inspired by phones we “loved nearly 20 years ago”.
The stripped back new phone is designed to be the antidote to gadgets like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S8.
Recent studies have suggested teens are beginning to get fed up with social media and are turning to brick phones to cut the cord and disconnect themselves from Facebook, Instagram and other all-pervasive networks.
The phone is actually made by a British company called Binatone which licenced the design from Motorola.
Simon Rockman claimed he was able to buy a prototype from eBay for just £22.95 – half the eventual street price of £49.99.
He believes it was put up for sale by a company or individual who was sent the prototype for testing.
Rockman worked at Motorola when the original was released in 2003, selling for more than £800.
It was built by a crack team of Motorola engineers who worked overtime in evenings and weekends in a top-secret facility and without managers knowing what they were up to, Rockman said.
Various versions of the RAZR went on to sell over 100 million with everyone from Jeremy Clarkson to David Beckham being spotted with one.
Here’s what Rockman, who now runs a telecoms firm called Fuss Free Phones, had to say about the Binatone Blade: “With the basic look of the RAZR, the Blade is more of a tribute act than a faithful follow-up.
“It’s bargain priced and this means it hasn’t got the quality feel of the original.
“The new phone is plastic where the original was metal. It doesn’t shut with the same satisfying snap.
STRIPPED BACK: The retro features of the Binatone Blade
- Backlit keypad
- Phonebook for 100 contacts
- Alarm function
- Different Ringtones / Vibration
- LED Torch
- Battery Li-ion > 600 mAh
- Micro USB charger input
- USB Headset Connection
- FM radio
“Where the 2003 phone had a difficult-to-make laser etched keypad the Binatone Blade has standard keys printed in a 1970s typeface.
“The new phone is a lot lighter at 67g to the Razr’s 96g, which makes it feel cheap.
“The Blade does capture the thinness of the phone, which was designed by Chris Arnholt, who was once described by the RAZR project leader as a ‘quiet, humble genius’.
“The new phone doesn’t have the front screen which was added to later models of the RAZR.
“But what you get instead is a phone which is a tenth of the price of the original, has a music player, two SIM cards so that you can have two phone numbers and much better software.”
The announcement of the Blade comes after Nokia released a rebooted version of the 3310, a cheap and cheerful version of the much-loved classic gadget which costs just £49.99.
Dino Lalvani, Binatone’s chairman said: “It’s a fact of life that most of us now carry two mobile phones.
“Whether it’s a work/home split, a second phone for holidays and festivals or just a temporary device to give to the kids for sleepovers, we just don’t have a single mobile anymore.
“We developed the Blade with this in mind, making sure it was a small, slim and light as possible, without compromising on battery life.
“Our designers really went to town and those of us old enough to remember will definitely see a resemblance to some of the iconic phones we loved nearly 20 years ago, which in consumer electronics is a lifetime.”
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