Razer has acquired cell phone startup Nextbit, according to a post on their forums. Nextbit is a San Francisco based company that Kickstarted production of the Nextbit Robin cell phone.
The post says that they will “operate as an independent division inside Razer, focused on unique mobile design and experiences.” This is another large purchase by Razer, who in the past year has also acquired the legendary audio company THX. Razer also purchased beleaguered Android console maker Ouya in 2015.
Nextbit had only released one product, a smartphone called the Robin. The main draw of the Robin over competitors was Nextbit’s included 100GB of cloud storage space. With this cloud system, the phone would keep your most utilized files and applications on the phone, with less often used files and apps being kept in the cloud service. It would adjust the storage if files became used more often. This drew criticism from many reviews and commentators, as it relies on a constant, stable, and fast internet connection, as well as being more expensive, complex, and data intensive than a simple microSD card slot.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan confirmed that the Robin was no longer being sold. However, Razer will support the Robin’s hardware and software for “at least the next six months”.
Razer has not announced any current plans for future hardware under Nextbit. Razer has not previously released any hardware nor software for cell phones and has not released any Ouya based hardware since its acquisition that company.
It’ll be interesting to see what Razer does with this acquisition. TechCrunch speculated that Razer was previously unable to get into the mobile phone market because they would run into trademark issues with Lenovo/Motorola’s Razr phones. Razer has been expanding its hardware past gaming accessories and producing laptops like the Razer Blade. The Robin was not focused on gaming, but it’s likely we’ll see some sort of Android-based game device from them eventually.