An inside look at how Libertyville engineers designed latest Razrs

Posted9/17/2012 10:29 AM
  • Iqbal Arshad

    Iqbal Arshad

  • Bob McDonald

    Bob McDonald

  • Kevin Kinsella

    Kevin Kinsella

  • Bud Domagata

    Bud Domagata

  • Tonya Corder

    Tonya Corder

Iqbal Arshad knows about that "aha moment," when something just feels right.

The senior vice president of global product development at Motorola Mobility felt that moment when he first held the prototype of Droid Razr M, the latest in a line of ultrathin Android smartphones produced after the legendary clamshell Razr.

Arshad, who has worked for Motorola for about 10 years, felt that same feeling when saw the latest Android Razrs, the HD, Maxx HD and M, debut about two weeks ago.

He said it started with a number of meetings in Libertyville where engineers focused on combining the features of the original Razr and Droid Razr along with the needs of today's consumers.

"We tried to approach this from two fronts," Arshad said. "First, can we use the set of technology and design and take them to the masses? And second, how do we take Razr to the next level of leading-edge innovation?"

The former Motorola Inc.'s mobile phone division in Libertyville changed the wireless world in 2003 by developing the Razr, the world's first ultrathin mobile phone. At that time, three engineers sat around in Libertyville looking for ways to make a mobile phone that could fit in your pocket. Mobile phones at that time were about 22 millimeters to 25 millimeters, or about 1 inch thick. That's when the engineers threw out the old way of thinking and started innovating on what would become a hit.

The small group developed the concept of the original Razr phone at 13.9 millimeters wide, the sleekest and thinnest clamshell styled phone that changed the way consumers viewed a handset.

In 2011, Motorola Mobility, which had since separated from the mother ship, introduced the first Android ultrathin smartphone called Droid Razr. By the time the Droid was introduced, the engineers were working on others in the portfolio.

Arshad said they focused heavily on M's larger display screen and longer battery as well as the internal functions of all three phones.

"It was a tedious process," Arshad recalled. "We held a lot of meetings to look at ideas, tests and products."

They also worked on a 3-dimensional database that, at first, created a picture of the new Razrs. Then, they "printed" the pictures into a plastic, non-working prototype, he said. That's when the prototype of the Razr M evoked that aha moment, he said.

"When I first felt it in my hand, it felt out of this world," he said.

Arlington native returns

Procter & Gamble Chairman, President and CEO Bob McDonald grew up in Arlington Heights and will return to Chicago as the keynote speaker at the Executives' Club of Chicago luncheon on Wednesday at Navy Pier. He's expected to talk about the company's innovation, branding and reinvention and what needs to happen to navigate today's economic realities. McDonald has been part of P&G since 1980 and was named CEO in 2009.

He wants you to donate locally

Owner and Charity Development Director Kevin Kinsella has launched of Palatine, a website ( that allows users to make online donations to local charities with strong missions. These donations provide local charities with consistent and predictable cash flow, enabling them to more thoroughly serve their clientele. The Palatine resident said he started the site to make it easy for Internet-savvy local people to support local causes.

Asian connection in Elk Grove

Joe Lundvick, chief operating officer of Perfection Global LLC in Elk Grove Village, said the company is partnering with South Korean firm, DSK Machinery Co. Ltd., which designs, manufactures and re-engineers heavy machinery and has manufacturing facilities across all industries. That makes Perfection Global the only North American agent for DSK products.


Laurie Kane, owner of Treetime Christmas Creations, a national artificial tree and decor company in Lake Barrington, is partnering with The Salvation Army for the second annual Tree Trade-In program Oct. 1-31. You can donate your gently used artificial Christmas tree to families in need by bringing them to the Treetime Christmas Creations showroom, 22N102 Pepper Road, Lake Barrington or schedule a pickup by calling 1800-SA-TRUCK or visiting

The infectious disease practice of Nozaina Aftab, Edward Sherman and Mia Taormina, who have offices in Lombard and Hinsdale, has been acquired by DuPage Medical Group in Downers Grove. ... President of The Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation Board and Executive Director Kevin Doyle said the foundation received a $15,000 grant from New York Life to sponsor the second Comfort Zone Camp, a camp for bereaved children. ... Bud Domagata, the CEO of Lifetime Assurance Inc. in Arlington Heights was recognized by the American Association For Long-Term Care Insurance as one of the top professionals in Illinois.

Samantha Mancini has joined St. Charles-based The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group's design team as a graphic design artist. ... Justin Pisellini of the financial services firm Edward Jones in Bensenville has achieved the professional designation of accredited asset management specialist. ... Tonya Corder, managing broker of Keller Williams Preferred Realty in south suburban Orland Park, is the new president of Downers Grove-based The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors. She wants to build on the merger with the Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland that made MORE the largest local association in the state and the fourth largest in the nation.

Bryan Kainrath is now vice president of Downers Grove-based Examplify, a new subsidiary of CompTIA Certifications LLC, which provides a one-stop solution for custom exam programs in the IT industry. ... Oak Park resident Marjorie Benzkofer is the new global lead of Fleishman-Hillard International Communications' reputation management practice.

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