Nexbit announces new cloud-based Robin Android smartphone


After teasing that it had something “friggin’ awesome” to announce, Nextbit, a company made up of former high-profile Google, Apple and HTC employees, has unveiled Robin, a device it claims is the world’s only “cloud-first smartphone”.

Available to pre-order now through Kickstarter at $299 USD and up, this Android-powered smartphone features a Snapdragon 808 processor, a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display, 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, a 2680mAh power pack and a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera with phase detection autofocus. Also included are a host of other niceties like NFC and quick charging.

If a lot of those specs seem familiar, it’s because the upcoming LG Nexus is set to include many of those same components. Where Nextbit hopes to differentiate its first smartphone offering is in the software department.

Each Robin comes with 100GB of online storage, and Nextbit has customized Google’s mobile operating system to take full advantage of it. The company says the phone will intelligently offload any apps the user doesn’t often use to the cloud. This won’t completely delete an app from the phone; instead, it will leave a ghost-like version of its icon on the home screen and app drawer. Taping on this icon will re-download the app, as well as any user preferences.

The Robin will also backup any photos anytime it’s connected to a power source and a WiFi network (the four LED lights at the back of the phone indicate whenever it’s connected to the cloud). Additionally, it will keep track of how the user is using its internal storage and move any old photos and apps to the cloud if things become a bit too crowded.

Despite those software alterations, Nextbit promises that it will do its best to provide people that buy its phone the latest version of Android.

“Because everything we do with Robin is based on up to the minute innovations on Android, it will always be running on the newest possible version,” says the company’s Kickstarter page. “We’ll do our damndest to ship it to you running Marshmallow, unless that drops after Robin ships. Then we’ll do an OTA update as soon as possible.”

Nextbit is turning to crowdfunding to get a sense of consumer demand. Its Kickstarter campaign, which started this morning, has, at the time of the writing of this article, already hit $313,000 of its $500,000 campaign. Production of the Robin is set to start early next with manufacturing duties handled by Foxconn. Stay tuned to MobileSyrup to learn more about this intriguing device as the information becomes available.