Robin Smartphone Is a Cloud-Powered Alternative to the Usual Suspects


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By Devin Coldewey

Apple and Samsung make good phones, but they're also something of a safe default choice these days. Why not try something new? That's what Nextbit, a company composed of ex-employees of HTC, Apple and others, is hoping you'll do with their first built-from-the-ground-up smartphone, the Robin.

Robin is based on Android, but has a custom look and feel, and leans hard on cloud storage. It uploads everything (encrypted, of course) to Nextbit's cloud servers, backing up your whole phone constantly. Haven't accessed an app, photo or song recently? It gets deleted from your local storage, freeing up space for new stuff. Want it back? It gets downloaded immediately from the cloud.


If Robin works as seamlessly as Nextbit claims, the feature could let you stop worrying about storage space altogether. If you don't like it, install stock Android or something else — unlike many phones, the Robin won't stop you.

The phone itself has a fresh look, too: The team has taken their experience from building phones at larger companies and designed something unique-looking — especially on the back, where always-visible lights tell you the phone's state of connectivity (or whether you have notifications). As for specs, the high-end processor, plentiful RAM, and 1080p 5.2-inch screen put it up there with the best.

Robin won't be coming to any carriers, but you can buy one unlocked and ready to get on AT&T or T-Mobile for about $350. The team is looking for $500,000 on Kickstarter, and they're just about there.