This morning at MWC 2016, we caught up with CEO Tom Moss and Scott Croyle from US mobile maker Nextbit, who are causing waves in the tech industry with their cloud-first smartphone Robin. It isn’t just the tech geeks that are going wild; consumers blasted through Nexbit’s first supply of product for sale in just days, and with the timing around Chinese New Year, production was delayed slightly but worry not: the Robin will be back on sale tomorrow morning (Wednesday 9am CET, or about 5pm Sydney time).

Tom tells us that Australia is an important market for Nextbit, but it almost didn’t happen. Australia wasn’t originally on Nextbit’s launch plans, due to concerns that band support might render the phone less popular for us. However, feedback from the enthusiasts quickly changed their mind, and the product was cleared for sale to Australians as well and with good results; despite our relative size in the global tech market, Australia reached #7 in terms of sales from the KickStarter campaign, and these figures are likely to be reflected in online sales as well.

Of course, Nextbit’s biggest design decision with the Robin (outside its striking physical design) was going Cloud First, meaning that apps can easily be offloaded from the Robin into the cloud to free up local storage space. Using the Robin, the most obvious change is more striking — Nextbit have done away with the traditional Android “app drawer”, opting for a flatter icon on the desktop motif for each installed app. Scott tells us this was a deliberate design decision based on feedback from users gained over the years. Tom said:

“One of the complaints from a large group of Android users was that Android seemed more intimidating or confusing to the first time user, especially those who were unfamiliar with smartphone trends thus far; customisation and choice is good — power users love it — but it can create confusion for non-Android users. A more simplified user interface like this makes it more accessible, and especially so to those coming across from iOS.”

There’s some other exciting news for Australian fans (and would-be customers) of the Nextbit Robin. While Nextbit is selling the Robin direct through their online store for the time being, they are also exploring options for local retail opportunities and this is the case for Australia too. Tom tells us that Nextbit are in discussion with a major online retailer in Australia for local ordering and fulfilment and that we should see this arrangement officially announced very soon.

There’s also the issue of the Nextbit Sheep. Their sheep mascot has developed its own cult following, especially amongst the tech media, and I was sent to Barcelona with strict instructions not to bother returning home without a sheep for Dan.

Well, I don’t just have one sheep. I actually have ten for you guys too. These are limited edition, conference-special black sheep, and they’re really, really cute. The usual colours — purple and turquoise — are available elsewhere, but these black ones are Nextbit’s

We’ll work out a way to give these away soon, so stay tuned! 

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Shakeel Ali

You can set it up to back up and restore only on Wi-Fi or if you please to pin most of your daily used apps and simply back up photos etc. It may not be the best phone for a market like ours, but there are workarounds to easily integrate it into your daily life.


Absolutely right. On top of this, putting the Cloud First features to one side, the phone itself is beautifully designed, and the clear passion that the Nextbit guys have for what they’ve made is evident to anyone who meets with them. We need to support and embrace smaller players like these guys. The major OEMs like Samsung and LG will continue to make great phones, but we do need other players to remind us that the majors aren’t everything. There’s a lot of manufacturers out there that Australia has never heard of … and we need to embrace these guys.

Shakeel Ali

Hey there Chris, does Ausdroid have any ideas on who this so called “large online retailer” could be?Also looking forward to snagging one of those black sheep in any potential give away 😀


While it looks really pretty and apparently runs well, the cloud gimmick is just silly, and would be useful for such a small percentage of users that it seems crazy to rebuild the whole OS for it.

When you say we need to embrace them, remember most of us stick with a device for a year or two and such a purchase represents a major investment. NextBit might not exist in 12 months time – that’s the risky nature of a start-up like this.


I have to admit, I love the look of this phone and the price point it’s offered at. I’m very keen to find out who will be selling it in Australia.


Absolutely rubbish mobile for the Australian market. Our data is so expensive, and our transfer speeds at certain area’s makes a ‘cloud’ phone useless. That’s what I like about the LG phones, expandable storage!