Earlier today, a new Kickstarter campaign was started by Nextbit, a company made up of experienced Android-savvy alumni, for their latest addition to the smartphone industry: Robin.
Robin is a smartphone that aims to solve two problems that are prevalent in smartphones today: lack of proper expandable storage, and the annoyance of having to manually go through and clear out your phone should you be so unfortunate to run out of space. Many manufacturers have opted to nix the microSD cards of yesteryear in favor of what’s known as “the cloud”, but even with cloud storage as an option there’s still hassle involved when it comes to copying your files elsewhere and then having to manually delete them off of your phone to actually free up space.
What Nextbit aims to do with Robin is utilize the cloud in such a way so that the user doesn’t have to do so much work to clean up their phones when it needs it. Your photos, videos, music, and apps can all be stored in the cloud. While that’s nothing new, what sets Robin apart is that it learns from you, adapts to you, and does the clean up for you. Things that you don’t use often automatically get moved to the cloud (which has 100GB included with the phone), and if you need it back, then you can easily pull it back whenever you want.
It might not seem like it’s that big of a deal, but I think Robin makes a lot of sense. The price of the phone is $399 ($349 if you’re an early backer, which is an option for the next 29 days), and with that you get a phone that has a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (with RAW support), 5-megapixel front-facing camera, NFC, fingerprint sensor, quick charging, 32GB of onboard storage with an additional 100GB of cloud storage, and dual front-facing speakers.
The design of the phone is also unique. It’s sharply squared off and comes in midnight, white, and mint (although I think they missed an opportunity to call it robin egg blue) colors. The back of the device has four small LEDs that light up when you’re connected to the cloud, and there’s a notification LED that rests on the bottom edge of the phone. It's purely a matter of opinion, but I think the phone actually looks pretty slick. Probably the best feature of all about this phone it's bloatware-free, which is always nice.
Overall, Robin seems to be a pretty good value.
There’s no way for us to know that Robin will be as efficient at freeing up space as it claims to be, but the idea is one that I feel like most people could stand behind. As somebody who often foregoes extra internal storage for a cheaper price tag, I know all too well the feeling of having to offload photos, videos, and other media to free up space in my 16GB iPhone – of which only 12GB is actually usable to me. And although Apple does include 5GB of iCloud storage for free, that was used up a long time ago, and I don’t necessarily want to pay extra money for more storage because I'm cheap. Instead, I opt to use a third party cloud storage service that gives 75GB for free, which seems to be plenty for now. Still, I have to manually delete files to clear up the space on my phone, which is where Robin’s seamless cloud integration is supposed to rise above the rest of the cloud storage solutions.
Whether Robin’s features do well or not, this is a feature I would love to see become a standard in smartphones in the future. Nextbit seems to have come up with a truly innovative way to, as they advertise, “make a smartphone smarter”, and I (among many others, as the Kickstarter has already almost reached its $500,000 goal within the very first day) am excited to see the phone come to fruition.