RIP, Nextbit Robin cloud-based smartphone

By Holly Brockwell on at

Nextbit, maker of the Robin cloud-based smartphone, has announced that it's "joining the Razer family" - in other words, its staff and assets have been acquired by the gaming hardware company. A post announcing the move explains that "Nextbit will operate as an independent division inside Razer, focused on unique mobile design and experiences."

However, while this all sounds terribly positive, the statement also drops a bombshell for fans of Nextbit's crowdfunded cloud-based smartphone, the Robin:

If you’re curious what this means for Robin, don’t worry. While we have stopped selling Robin and all accessories through our official channels, we are still dedicated to supporting all of you. We will continue to fulfil warranties for 6 more months. And as promised, we will continue to provide software updates and security patches through February 2018.

In other words: don't worry! The phone you backed is totes dead but your warranty's good for half a year and you still get software for a full one. Yay...!

In fairness, this seems like a better deal than Pebble backers got when that company was acquired by wearables brand Fitbit, and of course being an early adopter of a challenger smartphone brand is risky at best. Even if said brand was founded by former Android and HTC bods, and raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter.

The ethos behind Robin was a little ahead of its time, basing your apps and files in the cloud rather than relying on local storage. This is all well and good in theory (especially when, like the Nextbit team, you're based in tech-forward San Francisco) but in the real world - where good WiFi and 4G is far from guaranteed outside major cities - it's a little optimistic. The $299 (about £240) and distinctively duck-egg Robin was already out of stock prior to the announcement, and now we know it won't be coming back.

As for what the acquisition means for the new owners, could we be seeing a new gaming smartphone on the horizon? Hmm, Razer phone - where have we heard that before? [Recode]