When it is raining new models of Android smartphones, it is hard to stand out. But Nextbit's Robin just might manage to do that with its spectacular design and smart cloud storage features. The phone has been launched at ₹19,999.
Robin's distinctive looks are a big plus. Eschewing the ubiquitous curves, it uses a plain rectangular design with symmetrical buttons and sensor placements. The phone has a 5.2 inch full HD screen with front-facing dual speakers and dual amplifiers. It runs on Snapdragon 808 and a 3 GB RAM. Unusually, the fingerprint sensor is placed on the right side, and the power and the round volume buttons have been moved to the left.
The phone has 32 GB inbuilt storage with 100 GB smart cloud storage, but doesn't come with a microSD card slot for expansion. It also sports a 13 MP rear camera with Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and a 5 MP front camera. It has the battery capacity of 2680 mAh with Qualcomm quick charging enabled and a USB C support.
We spoke with the Nextbit team visiting India, which included co-founder and CTO Mike Chan, who as an engineer at Google was part of the team that designed Android 1.0, and Shankar Parasaram, formerly with Qualcomm and now handling the company's India operations. Excerpts from the conversation:
HuffPost India: What was your thought process behind making Robin?
Mike Chan: We wanted the phone to stand-out from the rest. So we opted for the rectangular design and colors which would stand out. Scott Croyle, our chief designer, who is an ex-HTC, was very adamant on the design and little details of the phone. Every button and sensor are placed with symmetry. We have done a fair bit of experimenting with the buttons and it has paid off.
HuffPost India: How important is the phone software to you?
Mike Chan: I had worked at Google in the Android team, so we rate software very highly. That's why we are launching in India with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1. At Google, we always felt that device makers were somehow slow to put out updates. We didn't want to be that device maker. We'll be pushing out updates as fast as Nexus devices, even with the latest security updates by Google.
HuffPost India: What are Robin's distinctive features?
Shankar Parasaram: Apart from the design, the smart cloud storage is Robin's biggest feature. Fingerprint unlock on the side is another unique thing we have implemented as we thought that is the natural position for the finger to be placed at. Our software is largely stock Android with a touch of customization such as pinned apps and small design changes.
HuffPost India: Tell us more about smart-cloud storage.
Shankar Parasaram: People always run out of storage on phones. That might cost them a precious picture or a video. Robin learns the way you use the phone and uploads apps to the cloud. When your phone reaches the threshold of 2 GB of free storage on the device, it offloads an app to the cloud which you have used the least in past few days. The app will show in grey on the home screen. If you want an app always to be there on the phone, you can pin the app by swiping down on it.
HuffPost India: What are your biggest advantages and challenges in India?
Mike Chan: Well designed and cloud storage are our strong points, naturally. I think Indian consumers will receive that well. We need to make the phone more available to people by selling it online. We would reach out to geeks and masses equally, pitching to them the relevant features. I think we can be successful here.
We have the Nextbit Robin for the review. If you have any questions about the phone, please ask in the comments section.