Motorola commits to premium 5G phones for 2020, starting with the foldable Razr 2019

The brand is ready to break out of its cheap-phone rut with high-end 5G phones for 2020, using the just-announced Snapdragon 865 processor.

motorola razr 2019 shop
motorola razr 2019 shop

Motorola publicly announced a return to premium phones on Tuesday, at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii. 

By Jessica Dolcourt

Advances in 5G and camera prowess, supported by the just-unveiled Snapdragon 865 and 765 chips, will help give the struggling brand an way to put its foot in the door for 2020 among intense competition. With the foldable Razr launch in November, Motorola’s already made an impression.

“Thanks to the new technologies announced today, we’ll have new premium products to announce in early 2020,” said Sergio Buniac, Motorola Mobility president. The announcement echoes an earlier statement that Motorola told CNET in August, that the brand would specifically launch a premium, high-end 5G phone.

The shift comes after Motorola turned itself around from a steep loss to parent company Lenovo’s portfolio, to a brand that’s remained profitable for five quarters. Paring back its phone portfolio to midrange and budget devices helped stabilize profits, as did cutting staff, CNET learned in August.

Motorola has spent the last several years carving out a niche for itself as a manufacturer of excellent budget and midrange phones. But its days dealing in devices that rarely exceed $500 are about to come to an end.

Motorola says it’s ready to embrace premium phones again, with price tags to prove it.

Now that Motorola is back in the black, it can focus on ramping up the kinds of phones it sells and where it sells them.

Motorola’s move is unsurprising, and well-timed. In the era of 5G phones and foldable designs, sticking with budget and midprice 4G phones is a sure way to get left behind.


By Jessica Dolcourt