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Why did Amazon’s brand-new Motorola Razr phones have a fingerprint warning?

Why did Amazon’s brand-new Motorola Razr phones have a fingerprint warning?


‘We apologize if you see fingerprints on your device’

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You can use the better outer camera for selfies
Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

If you ordered a 5G-equipped Motorola Razr foldable flip phone from Amazon, you might have been greeted by an unusual sight when you opened the box: someone else might have already unboxed your new phone and folded it for you.

A since-removed line on Amazon’s product listing explains:

RAZR was meant to be shipped in the unfolded position. However, in order to better protect the display we have folded your RAZR – it’s safer, but may not look as elegant as we hoped. We apologize if you see fingerprints on your device, but we assure you your RAZR is brand new.

But it’s not Amazon doing the folding — but rather Motorola. Amazon tells The Verge it didn’t open any of the Razr 5G packages.

Instead, Motorola itself has taken credit. Kind of. Here’s the company’s statement:

Motorola is packaging the new razr in its closed form at the factory level. Once the device leaves our facilities it is not reopened. Motorola places strict requirements on handling with gloves and sanitation procedures along with shipping protocols aimed at providing a great out of box experience. As with all products, we’ll continue to closely monitor and make additional adjustments as needed to give the best consumer experience.

The Razr’s unique box, which apparently has led to this concern.
The Razr’s unique box, which apparently has led to this concern.
Image: Amazon

Something still doesn’t add up. If these phones are being packaged “at the factory level” by people “handling with gloves,” why would the description have warned about fingerprints? Motorola’s statement implies that the phones are folded before leaving the factory, but the warning at Amazon seemed to make it clear that it was manually folding the phones (complete with a fingerprint warning.)

Both the original Razr and the updated model come in fancy display boxes meant to showcase your phone to its fullest degree. (It also functions as a passive speaker, and its shape is designed to amplify the sound from the phone’s speaker.) The Razr itself was originally shipped in an unfolded configuration to better show off the flexible 6.2-inch OLED panel, and the unit that The Verge purchased for review on the first day the 5G model was available came unfolded, not closed.

It’s not clear how many phones Motorola may have shipped out in the open configuration, if there was a specific incident that caused the shift, or when that change occurred.

But it seems that either Amazon or Motorola is now concerned about the safety of shipping the $1,399 phone with that massive (and relatively fragile) display exposed to the elements. Hence what appears to be the shift towards folding the phone before shipping.

Is this a casual indictment of the fragility of Motorola’s foldable phone? Who can say.

But depending on when you ordered, it’s possible that your new phone might be a little fingerprint-y.

Update October 30th, 5:14PM ET: Updated article to clarify that the situation is still weird.

Update October 31st, 12:30AM ET: Added Amazon confirmation that it did not open any of the Razr 5G packages itself.