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Gadget Rewind 2004: Motorola RAZR V3

Jon Turi, @jonturi

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It's our 10th birthday, and to celebrate we'll be revisiting some of the key devices of the last decade. So please be kind, rewind.

Motorola had been slinging its "hellomoto" campaign for several years by the time the RAZR V3 hit the scene in 2004. It's likely that you'll remember the iconic design of this handset, either as your communicator of choice or with a faint twinge of envy at never having scored one yourself. This ultra-slim flip phone had a backlit keypad that screamed Tron and its magnesium and aluminum outer shell gave it a lightweight, yet solid build. Motorola made the right move by providing an array of colors to choose from -- not quite the rainbow of flavors that today's Moto X offers, but it was enough to satisfy those with funkier tastes. As its name implied, the RAZR V3 was the switchblade of cellphones and cut a strikingly sharp figure, especially when flipped open. A minor downside to the design was its width; at just over 2-inches it was an exception at the time, although still a few notches below what most of us are pocketing today.

The RAZR V3 was up against some serious competition from Nokia and Samsung, but Motorola was on to something and by July 2006, the handset had sold 50 million units. Not only was it becoming one of the most ubiquitous handsets around, but it had a good amount of staying power. According to the analysts at NPD, the RAZR V3 was the top-selling handset of 2008 in the US -- still trumping the competition almost four years after its release. Its recognizable success was so rampant that the RAZR name was resurrected in 2011 to enhance the credibility (and likely sales) for Motorola's Droid line. Although, with tough competition and the "samey" nature of smartphone designs, future iterations of RAZR-branded devices failed to deliver the impact of the "OG" model.

Did you own the RAZR V3? Add it to your Engadget profile and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.

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