There's yet another Android smartphone on the horizon. This time, however, it has something rather special up its pretty mint green sleeve.
Yes, I know, every Android device is well connected to the cloud. From Google Drive, to Dropbox, to blah blah blah blah. But with Nextbit's Robin Android phone, they take that connection to a level no other device has managed.
What have they done? Let me explain. Imagine having 32 GB of internal storage gobbled up by whatever you happen to have on your device. But then, imagine having an extra 100 GB of cloud storage available and your smartphone will automatically off load lesser-used apps and other media to your cloud storage. That's right... automatic offloading to free up local space on your device.
That is using the cloud wisely.
But what happens when an app is offloaded? In the app drawer it will be greyed out. Tap that greyed out launcher and Robin will download and run the app. What about photos? If you opt to save photos to the cloud, the smartphone will send the high-rez version to cloud storage and save a much downsampled version to local storage. Running out of space on your smartphone could be a thing of the past.
Simple. Elegant... very much beta.
As for specs, here's what we know:
- Fingerprint scanner on the power button
- Two mics (one noise-cancelling)
- 13 MP camera with LED flash
- 5.2-inch 1080p screen
- USB-C port
- Android Lollipop
To my knowledge, this is the first smartphone to get the cloud right. This isn't just you saving and syncing files to remote storage, this is your device working smart with the cloud to serve you. Every device manufacturer should be paying very close attention to what Nexbit is doing here, because when it arrives on the scene, heads will turn and wallets will open. This is the device the masses have been waiting for. No more having to second guess how much internal storage you're going to need and then paying extortionistic-level prices to get that extra space. With Robin, you pay for 32 GB of space and you really wind up with 132 GB.
And before you think "Why not just install Dropbox or pay $1.99/month to Google for an extra 100 GB of cloud space and be done with it? Although both of those options will get you extra space, they do not help your device, in any way, to automatically handle the offloading of apps or media. In fact, what those options do is simply ensure your cloud and your device are in sync and you have access to your data. Robin takes this one (long overdue) step further and manages your device such that there is always available space.
Consider Robin to be the solution to a problem you don't know you have until it's too late and you're scrambling to free up crucial space.
Consider Robin to be the coming of the "Intelligent" Phone. "Smart" is now passe.
My guess is that Nextbit won't stop with simple storage. Their cloud-first features will be game changers for anyone who depends upon their mobile devices and uses them in place of a desktop or notebook. I expect big things to come from Nextbit. I also expect other smartphone developers would be a bit concerned about looking outsmarted when the Robin finally lands.
The Nextbit Robin is still in Kickstarter phase, but has already met its 500,000 dollar goal. The project will be funded through Oct 1, 2015 (so there's plenty of time to get involved).
Is the Robin the next-level of smartphone? What kind of intelligent feature would you like to see Nextbit add to this new device?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.