Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Nextbit Robin, the cloud-based smartphone, is now available in ’ember red’

The Nextbit Robin is available in a fiery new color, but only for a limited time

Nextbit is a certifiable Kickstarter success story. The startup managed to raise $1.3 million in 30 days for Robin, a cloud-based smartphone, and now the phone is available in a color appropriate to its name: “ember red.” The fiery new model retails for $300, and is available exclusively on the company’s website in “very limited quantities.”

The Nextbit Robin will soon receive a major software update. The headlining new feature is “smart storage for videos,” a feature which automatically uploads clips to the cloud when local storage is running low, but security patches are in tow, too. It’s set to roll out to beta testers in July, and, assuming all goes well, to the broader Robin community in August.

Nextbit, founded by former head of Android business development Tom Moss and former head of Android power management Mike Chan, set up shop three years ago to free people from the current limits of today’s mobile technology. This ambition culminated in the Nextbit Robin, a new mid-range Android smartphone with a difference.

What sets the Robin apart from other smartphones is its ability to take apps, photos, and all other forms of media and store them automatically in the cloud. Nextbit in particular is capable of moving apps that haven’t been used, freeing up space that can be used to download more apps, store more music, and take more photos.


Using the latest version of Android, Nextbit has created a program that automatically makes space for more media and apps. On top of the 32GB of on-board storage, it has 100GB of cloud storage where all of the inactive apps, photos, and videos are stored. When you want to use an app again, you tap on it, let it download, and tee it up.

That pitch won over enough people who were willing to pay $350 on Kickstarter, despite there being no previous smartphone launches under the company’s name. The phone began shipping to backers in February, and is now available for $400 on the company’s site. The startup added another $100,000 to the amount raised through pre-order sales on its new site, which includes all first-party accessories.

The chief product and design officer is Scott Croyle, who was responsible for overseeing the design of the HTC Evo, One M7, and One M8. Croyle crafted the Nextbit Robin. The full-HD 5.2-inch polycarbonate phone, also available in Mint or Midnight, stands out notably in the stale land of black, silver, and gold metallic smartphones. Two front-facing circular speakers sit on the top and bottom of the device, alongside a 5MP camera with LED flash. On the back is a 13MP camera with dual-tone flash and a cloud icon with four lights to tell users when they’re connected to the cloud.

On the order page, Croyle has also designed the Scratches Case, Bumps Case, and Bruises Case. A quick charger, screen protector, vinyl mascot, and the smartphone are also available.

The custom Nextbit ROM can be switched out for any open-source ROM, like Cyanogen or stock Android, without voiding the warranty. Nextbit promises it has not added any third-party apps to the smartphone. It wants to make this a truly open smartphone, with an unlocked Nextbit SIM card that can be switched at any time.


Power management is another core area on which Nextbit has focused, fitting a 2680mAh battery inside. Other specs include Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808, 3GB of RAM, NFC, USB Type-C, a fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and LTE. It is surprising that Nextbit announced specs in September of 2015 considering that Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 820, a more powerful and well-optimized processor, earlier that year. Time and budget constraints presumably played a part.

Even without cutting-edge silicon, though, the Robin is a serious competitor in the “under $400” market — one of the most competitive among Android manufacturers at the moment.

Available at: Amazon

Article originally published in January 2016. Updated on 07-28-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added news of “ember red” model availability and pricing. 

Julian Chokkattu, Naomi Vo, and Robert Nazarian all contributed to this report.

Editors' Recommendations

David Curry
Former Digital Trends Contributor
David has been writing about technology for several years, following the latest trends and covering the largest events. He is…
HMD’s Nokia 2.2 is now available in the U.S., and it’s slated to get Android Q
Nokia 7.1 fingerprint sensor

HMD Global has been on a roll releasing budget Nokia phones in the U.S. in all shapes and sizes, and its latest is the Nokia 2.2. It's a refreshed version of the ultra-affordable Nokia 2 from 2018, with a few new features and the promise of an update to the upcoming version of Android, Android Q.

The fact this $139 phone will get Android Q quite quickly -- and that it's getting it at all -- is notable, as it makes it one of the cheapest phones to will support the new version of the Android operating system. This is possible because the Nokia 2.2 is an Android One smartphone, which means you can expect a minimum of two years of OS upgrades and two years of monthly security updates. Here's everything you need to know about Nokia 2.2.
Design and display

Read more
Google’s Gboard now uses A.I. to recommend GIFs based on your conversation

Users of Google's Gboard mobile keyboard may soon find it a whole lot easier to find GIFs and stickers related to their conversations. Google is pushing an update to Gboard that will include a feature that contextually suggests GIFs And stickers that it thinks may relate to the conversation at hand.

According to Google, the new feature should make it easier for users to express themselves, but it also understands the privacy implications, too -- considering the fact that it means that the keyboard has to have access to the conversation in the first place to recommend related GIFs and stickers. To that end, Google says that everything is processed on-device, helping ensure that it's private and fast.

Read more
‘The Bard’s Tale 4: Barrows Deep’ is available now on Steam
Chug some booze and belt out battle songs in 'The Bard's Tale 4'
the bards tale 4 barrows deep available on steam iv release

The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep Launch Trailer

The long-awaited sequel to a series that helped set the tone for fantasy RPGs and dungeon crawlers as we know is available today on PC and that game is The Bard’s Tale 4: Barrows Deep. Arriving just in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary, it's a come up story only made possible by a Kickstarter campaign that amassed over 30,000 backers and $1,500,000 in funding.

Read more