Razer Acquires Nextbit: What Will The Video Game Hardware Company Do To The Cloud-Based Robin Smartphone?


Video game brand Razer, which acquired audio company THX a few months ago in a bid to expand across the entertainment industry, revealed that it has purchased smartphone manufacturer Nextbit.

The acquisition of Nextbit, the startup behind the cloud-based Robin smartphone, further expands Razer's business beyond software and hardware for the video game industry.

Razer Acquires Nextbit For Undisclosed Amount

In a post on its official forums, Nextbit announced the acquisition by Razer, which the startup claims is a "rebel" similar to it, both sharing the need to push boundaries.

Nextbit will be operating as an independent division within Razer, with the unit to continue working on their focus on unique mobile design and experiences. The company's workforce of 30 employees will be absorbed by Razer, and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said that future products that will be developed by the unit will feature the Nextbit brand. The only difference would be that Nextbit will be given more resources to work with than what it previously had for the development of the Robin smartphone.

"We've been huge fans of what Nextbit has been doing," said Min, "both the work on the phone technology and on the cloud-based storage side of things. There is a lot of potential and talent."

Nextbit CEO Tom Moss said that they will remain in San Francisco, but he did not give any hints on any upcoming products that the new Razer division is working on.

The transaction was closed earlier this month, but the financial terms were not revealed. However, according to sources, a decent part of the deal was for equity.

What Will Happen To The Nextbit Robin?

Nextbit's Android-powered Robin, released in the first quarter of 2016 for $400, offered customers a smartphone with decent hardware specifications and intelligent cloud storage. The device featured a 5.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, and 3 GB of RAM, but a CDMA version was cancelled after it was found to be impossible to create in addition to the initial GSM version.

Sales of the smartphone, however, have since been discontinued though Nextbit's official channels. The acquisition by Razer does not mean that the Robin will once again go up for sale, as Min confirmed that the device has been discontinued.

However, current Robin users will still be able to enjoy warranties for the next six months and will continue receiving security patches and software updates until February 2018. Nextbit will be releasing the Android 7.0 Nougat for the Robin within the quarter, which will be followed shortly by the battery improvements that the startup promised for the smartphone.

What's Next For Razer?

Nextbit is the third acquisition made by Razer, after THX last year and Android-based video game console maker Ouya in July 2015.

Razer has made its name through its video game hardware and software business, with the company being aggressive in targeted, vertical integration within the industry. There is the possibility that the Nextbit acquisition is a hint that Razer will be looking into diving into the smartphone business soon, especially with the strong ties between mobile devices and video games.

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