Chapter 5

RAZR Sharpens Mobile’s Focus

“Mobile phones were very distinctly phones until the introduction of the Motorola RAZR [in 2004],” says Joy Liuzzo, vice president and director of the research company InsightExpress. “Until that time, phones were bulky and not easy to take with you everywhere without needing a purse or belt holder. The RAZR became the phone you could slip into your back pocket and reach for no matter where you were.

“It also paved the path of a slicker user interface and more focus on the features outside of talking than previous phones. The Motorola RAZR was the gateway drug to the future smartphones, giving a huge number of people a taste of what was possible.”

Louis Gump (see Chapter 3), still at the Weather Channel in those days and now vice president of mobile at CNN, agrees.

“Up until 2003 or 2004, most people saw these devices as a way to make phone calls, often sparingly because of the rates,” he says. “There were times people used these devices for something other than that. Then text messaging came along and downloads and ringtones and ringback tones and, all of a sudden, these became more personal devices. As that happened, consumers said, ‘Hey, maybe I do want to browse. Maybe I do want to get an app.’ ”

Among those people who tasted what was possible was Ivan Braiker (see Chapter 1) who made a deal with Graham Knowles and business partner Iain Simms to bring a technology platform to America that would enable marketers, radio station programmers, ...

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