Razer just jumped into the smartphone business with the acquisition of Nextbit

razer acquires smartphone startup nextbit robin 0003 2 1500x1000
Did Razer just get into the smartphone business? The popular gaming peripheral maker said on Monday that it acquired Nextbit Systems Inc., the company responsible for the cloud-based Nextbit Robin smartphone. Robin is based on a forked version of Android called Nextbit OS that seamlessly merges local and cloud storage so users never run out of space. It also continuously adapts to how it’s used to provide a smartphone environment that evolves with the owner’s changing needs. The phone is no longer for sale from Nextbit, in light of the acquisition.

According to Razer, it now owns the majority of Nextbit’s assets, and has brought the firm’s management and employees under Razer’s roof. However, Razer will remain as a parent company, enabling Nextbit to operate as a standalone division using its own management. Nextbit will not become part of the ongoing business of parent company Razer.

“In order to reach a wider audience and continue our mission, we decided to join with a larger brand,” said Tom Moss, Nextbit Systems Inc. co-founder and CEO. “We’re lucky to have found a company in Razer that shares our value of pushing the boundaries of what our devices can do.”

The Nextbit Robin smartphone was originally a Kickstarter project that generated $1,362,343 from 3,611 backers, overshooting Nextbit’s $500,000 goal. The company set out to create a cloud-first device so that end users would not be continuously worried about the local storage on their device. Nextbit also wanted a bloat-free product that reduced clutter and increased usability for the ultimate smartphone experience.

Here are the hardware specs:

Screen: 5.2 inches (IPS)
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Processor: Snapdragon 808 (six cores, 1.8GHz)
Memory: 3GB LPDDR3
Storage: 32GB on-board
100GB online
Cameras: 13MP (back)
5MP (front)
Audio: 2x front-facing speakers with dual amplifiers
Connectivity: Wireless AC
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy
NFC
GPS
GSM
Security: Fingerprint scanner
Storage encryption option
Battery: 2,680mAh
Size: 5.86 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches
Weight: 5.3 ounces
Launch date: May 30, 2016

The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button so that when users wake up the device, it’s automatically unlocked, eliminating the need for swiping or entering passwords or PINs. Nextbit went with a square design sporting slightly rounded edges to make the smartphone easy to grip and comfortable in the user’s hand at all times. One speaker resides on the face of the device in the spaces above and below the screen.

Moss said on the Nextbit community forums that the company will do “exactly what we’ve been doing all along,” but backed by Razer’s resources. However, the acquisition means that sales of the Robin smartphone and all accessories have ceased. All warranties will be supported through the next six months, and software updates and security patches will continue to roll out through February 2018.

“More than anything we want to preserve the community we’ve built on our forums and our social streams, we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” Moss said. “We would not be the company we are today without our backers, our supporters, and our community.”

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