Nextbit has just announced that it is cancelling the CDMA version of the Nextbit Robin Smartphone, meaning, Verizon and Sprint subscribers who had been looking forward to getting their hands on the device, are out of luck. The handset was originally intended for just GSM networks only, but Nextbit decided to make a CDMA variant after unexpected strong demand for the GSM model and innumerable requests for a Verizon-compatible variant had convinced the company that the CDMA model will also find many takers. The company has now blamed an inordinately slow carrier-testing process and spiraling costs as the main reasons behind the decision that will no doubt disappoint many who backed the project when it was originally launched on Kickstarter last year.
Through a post on the official Nextbit website, the company’s CEO, Mr. Tom Moss, announced on Thursday that the company is in the process of refunding everybody who had ordered the CDMA model on Kickstarter. Along with the refund, Nextbit is also offering a coupon that will give them a 25 percent discount on any device or accessory sold by Nextbit, including the GSM version of the phone that is currently available for purchase on the company’s website. In his apology note to the backers of the Nextbit Robin, Mr. Moss admits that the company’s management was “too optimistic, too bullish, and as a result we have to deal with our biggest fear, disappointing you, our supporters”. The CDMA model was earlier delayed till April, after Nextbit had originally announced an ETA of February.
For the uninitiated, the Nextbit Robin is a crowdfunded smartphone that was launched on Kickstarter back in September of last year. The project quickly gained momentum, reaching its $500,000 target within just twelve hours of the launch of the campaign, which was slated to run for a month. Within just two weeks, the project had received as much as $1 million from backers worldwide, in the process, attracting significant attention from the global tech media. The major differentiator for the Robin is that it’s a ‘Cloud First’ smartphone, having been conceptualized, designed and developed by Nextbit – a company that originally made a name for itself by offering cloud-based services. That being the case, the Nextbit Robin has cloud-based data and media backup services baked into the operating system itself, unlike any other Android smartphone.