You must never press Razr’s prohibited internet button

The first cell phone I ever owned was a Motorola Razr. The keys on the Razr are some of the finest to ever grace a mobile device. The keyboard is laser-etched from a shimmering aluminum plate and ignites when pressed in a bright blue glow, the saw like the science fiction future.

But there was a button I was afraid of pressing. In all the years I’ve owned a Razr, I can’t say I’ve tapped it more than once or twice, and never on purpose: the internet button.

On the top left of the keyboard, the internet button was decorated with a blue globe and opened the Razr’s built-in internet browser. The problem, of course, was that in the exciting days of 2007 when I first got a cell phone, I wasn’t paying for data. That meant the push of the button was a recipe for facing dreaded overage fees.

Would AT&T have actually billed me (and my family’s shared cell phone plan) hundreds of dollars for the crime of using valuable kilobytes of data to accidentally load Google’s rudimentary mobile website? I honestly have no idea. But with things like text messages and call minutes that were already heavily regulated by the cellular operator – which resulted in high overhead charges – I didn’t take any chances.

Unfortunately, the Razr’s basic design meant that those intentions were often debatable. The internet button was also Conveniently located, right next to the green “call acceptance button” and right next to the control pad. It was far too easy to just accidentally press and switch to the sober web browser and its looming charges. My memories of the Internet button are those of accidental brushing, followed by frantic hitting the hang up or menu buttons in a desperate attempt to exit the menu before I’ve used up any data.

The Razr’s internet button was ambitious. It’s hard to remember now when the Razr is considered to be the ultimate expression of the feature phone. It was the last, ascending climax of the era before smartphones would prevail, with the iPhone and Android phones debuting just a few years later. At the time of publication in 2004, it was priced at $ 500 With a two-year contract; the same price that the “entry-level” model of the original iPhone would charge when it debuted in 2007.

The Razr was a luxury phone ripped straight from the future, so it is would have Offering features like email and the Internet, even if the cellular and technology infrastructure we had back then wasn’t ready for the Razr’s ambitions.

Looking back at 2021, when internet connected devices are a given and cellular data on a smartphone is a given, where even devices that want to avoid “smartphone” status offer some kind of mobile data, it seems almost funny. But in Razr’s heyday in the early 2000s, the lethargic 2G internet that the flip phone offered was cutting edge technology – and it took a heavy toll on the data plans of anyone who dared to squeeze it.

Motorola finally seemed to realize that, despite its best intentions, the Internet and email weren’t exactly the Razr’s main attractions, either. And later versions of the device (like the V3m) would ditch those buttons entirely in favor of a dedicated camera shortcut and a clear button that doesn’t cost money to use.

And Motorola may have laughed for the last time after all: when the company revived the Razr brand in 2020, it added an Easter egg that allowed users to mimic the original neon-colored finish of the flip-top phone from 2004. And on top of it was an Internet button that, when tapped, opened Google Chrome – with all the advantages of LTE and Wi-Fi that we have today.

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