In 2013, Tom Moss and Mike Chan, two veterans of Google’s own Android Team, founded Nextbit, a secretive startup dedicated to the grand vision of seamless cloud-first computing across multiple devices. After a few years of providing cloud-based services to device manufacturers and developers, the Nextbit team has announced Robin, a debut handset the company calls “the smarter smartphone.”
Launched through a Kickstarter campaign that reached its $500,000 goal in just 10 hours, Robin is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 3G of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a USB Type-C port. Nextbit stresses that its device is truly cloud-first: It already boasts a healthy 32GB of internal storage offline, but once the device is connected to the cloud, that number jumps to 100GB at no extra charge.
That added space isn’t just a locker in the cloud; with Robin, the cloud is integrated into the Android OS. Over time, Robin is designed to learn about your particular usage patterns and optimize your phone’s local storage to favor the apps and features that you actually use by offloading everything else to the cloud. When you do decide to revisit some fond photo memories or crush that sweet score in last year’s hit game, just tap on it and Robin will bring it right back to you.
Nextbit also promises that Robin will always be running on the most recent version of Android possible. They hope the first wave of handsets will be running Marshmallow when they ship to backers in early 2016, but assure a swift update if that Android version is not released in time. Then again, every Robin is fully unlocked right out of the box, so if you have a preference and know what you’re doing, feel free to flash your favorite Android ROM.
Early-bird backers were able to preorder the Robin for only $299, a full $100 off of the expected retail price, but you can still reserve your own for just $349. The crowdfunding campaign, as well as the introductory prices, will end October 1, 2015. Nextbit hopes to ship the first units to backers beginning in January 2016.
Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.