Meet Robin, a "cloud-first" smartphone from Nextbit Systems.
Today, we find out what the company—founded by two former Google employees—has been working on. The tech startup is launching a Kickstarter campaign for its first smartphone called Robin.
Robin runs a customized version of Android and features a 5.2-inch 1080p high-definition screen, Snapdragon 808 processor, NFC, 13 megapixel camera, USB Type-C connector with quick charge, and 32 gigabytes of internal storage. The phone is also equipped with a fingerprint reader, which can be found behind the phone’s power button on the right side of the device.
The team decided to create a smartphone that would stand out, and the result is a rectangular device with hard edges and a distinct design.
Launching on Kickstarter is a novel approach, but as a young company with limited funds, the firm views it as a way to gauge demand and better forecast component orders. Nextbit CEO Tom Moss expressed excitement about the company’s $500,000 crowdfunding campaign explaining that it gives the company a better opportunity to gather direct feedback from customers. Competing smartphone maker OnePlus currently uses an invite system for its smartphones for similar reasons.
The phone will be offered to the first 1,000 backers on the crowdfunding platform for $299, and later $349 for the rest of the campaign. Meanwhile, the device is expected to retail for $399 when it begins shipping in January.
If Robin doesn’t reach its goal within its 30-day time frame the company plans to make adjustments to the current model based on user feedback, although Moss is confident the market will find value in the product.
What makes Robin truly unique is its approach to managing phone storage. Instead of forcing users to offload photos and videos, or delete rarely used apps to free up space, Robin does it for you.
Robin’s software analyzes a user’s phone habits and when running low on space will remove an app from the device—leaving a grey icon in its place— to free precious storage. Additionally, users can simply tap on the icon to re-download it. The phone’s software will remember and restore any app’s credentials and settings.
Robin will also automatically upload photos and videos to clouds when more space is needed, leaving a lower resolution version on the device. Should you need the original, you can download it with a few taps on the screen. Also, at launch, Robin will come with 100 gigabytes of cloud storage for free.
Nextbit’s executive team noted the company is intent on providing more solutions for consumer pain points through future software updates, but stopped short of providing any examples.
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