American smartphone start-up Nextbit has clocked a lot of firsts with the Robin smartphone. This is the first smartphone from the company. It is also the first smartphone to be funded on crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. And this is the first phone which puts the “cloud storage" at the forefront of the entire user experience. It is expected that Nextbit will launch the Robin smartphone in India later this month.
Here is everything you need to know about the Nextbit Robin smartphone, before it arrives on our shores.
It all resides in the cloud
The most unique aspect of the Nextbit Robin is how the 32GB internal storage and the 100GB cloud storage is melded together. When the phone detects that you are beginning to fill up the 32GB storage in the device, it starts to take corrective action—the less frequently used apps are backed up to the cloud, which frees up local storage. If you are also backing up images, the oldest clicked full size images are sent to the cloud and a more streamlined (read, less space consuming) version of them remain on the phone. What you get with the Robin is 100GB cloud storage space, at no extra cost.
However, it is important to remember that this space is not available for you to store music, documents or videos.
Nextbit OS > Android?
The Nextbit Robin runs what the company calls the Nextbit OS. This isn’t a totally new OS, but is a modified version of Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow). Nextbit says, “It’s all Android. Only Smarter." The smartness bit is a combination of things, including the cloud storage feature, a prettier and a more minimalist interface and the lack of almost any unnecessary preloaded third-party apps.
While everything looks cleaner and simpler, the redesigned interface takes a bit of getting used to—it is a very different take compared to the conventional Android interface.
Archiving apps saves space
One of the features of Robin’s cloud storage is the ability to archive apps or games which are installed on the phone that you haven’t used in a while. What the Robin does is that it compiles the user data (login details, app settings etc.) into a separate file, and removes the bulk of the app installation files from the phone. When an app has been archived, the icon shows up in a greyed out colour on the home screen. To quickly get the app or game back, all you need to do is tap on the icon, and it gets downloaded on the phone.
Remember, all this is possible only if you are connected to a fairly speedy Wi-Fi connection, or have a 3G/4G mobile data connection, with fairly good speed and data usage limits.
Pin apps for safety
We all have certain apps on our phones which we use once in a while, but they need to be available instantly at that time. If you don’t want a particular app to get backed up to the cloud and cleaned out from the phone’s storage, there is the “pin" option. You simply need to swipe down on the app icon on the home screen to set the pin for any app.
While there are a lot of things to like about the Nextbit Robin, but in terms of usability and performance, the clean Android with no preloaded third-party apps is perhaps the proverbial cherry on the cake. Essentially, there is nothing cluttering the storage, the memory, the processor cycles and spoiling the overall performance.
The Robin is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, paired with 3GB RAM. It comes with a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display, which has a 1,920x1,080 pixel (full HD) resolution. The screen has a Gorilla Glass 4 layer, which protects it against scratches, dents and potential cracks. The phone packs in a 2,680mAh battery, and uses the USB Type-C port for charging which also supports the Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 feature. Funnily enough, Nextbit is not bundling the power adapter with the phone (at least not with the unit that we received), but just the USB Type-C cable (the adapter is being sold as a separate accessory globally for $15).
There is no word yet on the India-specific pricing of Nextbit Robin, but it would be pretty close to the global price of $399 ( ₹ 26,000 approximately). Do stay tuned for a detailed review.