Nextbit reveals Robin, a smartphone that's nestled within the cloud
“Nothing excited me in cellular up to now few years,” Tom Moss says, leaning again in an workplace chair. Far as he is involved, smartphone makers — particularly these working with Android — have spent approach an excessive amount of time crafting hardware and never almost sufficient effort on innovating software program. That is why, when the bug to construct one thing new bit once more, Moss gathered an Android dream staff to construct a “cloud-first” smartphone referred to as Robin.
Robin — which simply launched on Kickstarter for $299 and up — is a charmingly boxy telephone with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a USB-C port, and certainly one of Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chipsets with 3GB of RAM. That is the exact same slab of silicon you will discover in LG’s G4, and if the rumors maintain up, Robin ought to give LG’s forthcoming Nexus loads of competitors within the efficiency division too. Not shabby in any respect, however the Nextbit workforce could not be prouder of how its software program differs from common ol’ Android. Swiping by way of an early construct of the Robin’s software program seems like inventory Lollipop with a twist you may miss. The factor is, Robin solely has 32GB of storage constructed proper into it, nevertheless it’s linked very tightly to 100GB of cloud storage. Enter the key sauce: Robin’s software program will work out what apps and knowledge have gone untouched these days and shuffle them up into ethereal space for storing. You should not should delete issues when your telephone runs out of area, staff Nextbit says, as a result of your telephone ought to have already carried out it.
When Robin deletes an app you have not been utilizing, a ghost of it stays in your homescreen — one faucet pulls the app’s knowledge again down into the telephone, choice knowledge nonetheless intact. (A quartet of LEDs will blink on Robin’s again when it is archiving issues.) You will not need Robin to even think about deleting an app you employ typically, so you possibly can pin it on the homescreen to maintain it. Extra importantly, they actually imply it once they say 100GB of “free storage”. Moss is adamant that the corporate will not cost its clients extra cash for additional space for storing; if sufficient customers get too near the 100GB cap, Nextbit would moderately increase that ceiling for everybody. This is not a controversial concept, however Robin treats the cloud as an important a part of the system, not simply an afterthought.
None of this implies Nextbit skimped on the hardware aspect although, particularly since former HTC design lead Scott Croyle helped convey it to life. It is a slim slab accomplished up in certainly one of two (for now) shade choices, lending every telephone a teensy little bit of character. Niceties like NFC, entrance-dealing with audio system and a tiny fingerprint scanner on the aspect spherical out the package deal, together with a thirteen-megapixel digital camera that Nextbit appears particularly pleased with. Oh, and the unlocking the bootloader for some customized improvement motion, simply to show Nextbit is aware of what the nerds like. I spent just a few moments enjoying with an engineering prototype, however the package deal felt tight and properly-constructed. Nextbit simply may need a winner on its palms.
Then once more, it is arduous to not see pitfalls lining Nextbit’s roads. Low cost rivals like OnePlus have developed rabid, vocal fanbases. Huge names like Motorola have ventured into the identical waters with extremely polished units. Nextbit is betting that smarter software program will make our smartphones greater than the sum of their elements, however the very actual — and scary — fact is it simply may fail. Each time we publish a telephone assessment, our remark sections are lit up with individuals furious over the lack of microSD slots — cannot see them embracing one thing like this. Thankfully, Nextbit has loads of time to work on wowing the remainder of us: these first Kickstarted models will not hit till later within the yr.