The cloud-based Nextbit Robin could be the next big smartphone in India
Nextbit has its eye on India.
The San Francisco startup is launching its cloud-based smartphone, the Robin, in the country for the highly competitive price of $297 (Rs 19,999) — nearly $100 lower than its original launch price of $399 (Rs 26,900) in the U.S.
If you missed Robin’s release earlier this year, here’s a refresher: Boasting good specs and a refreshing teal-colored plastic design, the phone’s main feature is its innovative integration of cloud storage. When the device runs out of space, it automatically (and intelligently) backs up your data and even apps to the 100GB of cloud storage you get with the phone.
In India, the phone will be sold exclusively on online marketplace Flipkart, starting May 30. At the launch event in Delhi, Nextbit CEO Tom Moss stressed India’s importance as the second-largest smartphone market in the world and on ensuring that the phone was good value for the money — an important consideration for the country’s price-sensitive consumers.
The Nextbit Robin’s intuitive understanding of which apps people use the most could give it an edge over other smartphones.
“I’m very optimistic about the Indian market,” Moss told Mashable. “We priced our phone aggressively specifically for this market because we really wanted to invest in it the long-term. This is just the first step.” The pricing is significant because of India’s steep import duties on smartphones, which has led to other phones, like Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus, selling at prices significantly more expensive than in the rest of the world.
“A lot of the technology that we’re building is meant to simplify smartphones for people who are not tech-literate,” Moss says. “As India grows beyond the current core users, that’ll be really important, so that really aligns with our long-term vision.”
The company is counting on the Nextbit Robin’s smart-storage feature to stand out. As such, Nexbit’s initial focus will be on tech enthusiasts, but for long-term viability, its bigger challenge will be appealing to the mass market. The Robin is powered by Marshmallow 6.0, and is close to stock Android, but Moss argues that its intuitive understanding of which apps people use the most and the least will give it an edge over other smartphones in India’s Android-dominated market.
The Nextbit Robin storage dashboard
The Robin also has decent specifications for its price, including 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2680 mAh (milliamp-hour) battery and a fingerprint sensor. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It also features 5.4 inch full HD (1080p) display.
Moss also highlighted the phone’s striking rectangular design and mint color scheme. “When people who’ve bought it have it out at bars and events, everybody asks them about the phone, ‘oh what phone is that?’,” Moss said. “A phone is such a personal device, it shouldn’t be boring and sterile. It should be fun and express something abut yourself and your personality.”
Besides the United States, Nextbit counts Japan and Taiwan among its biggest markets, but Moss added that the company was looking towards India to grow big. “Most of the world is really saturated in terms of growth and India is really the engine that’s driving the growth in smartphones for the whole world today,” Moss said. “We hope that people are ready to accept something different.”
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