Nextbit Robin CDMA edition canceled: “We were too optimistic”
Too many smartphone manufacturers are content to churn out phone after uninspired phone, upgrading components with the latest tech and keeping up with the most recent OS build, but failing to give us anything that really feels “new.” So when Nextbit emerged with its crowfunded Robin, offering a phone that not only looked different from so many other handsets out there, but came with a compelling cloud-connected hook, we sat up and took notice. The hardware we ultimately got wasn’t without a few flaws, but the whole Robin experience came together really well, and we found ourselves quite pleased with the phone. At least – we were pleased with the GSM version of it. After hitting delays with a planned CDMA edition, Nextbit’s found itself forced to make an uncomfortable decision, and today announces that the CDMA Robin has been canceled.
Nextbit started Robin as a GSM phone, but in mid-September we learned that there was sufficient interest for Nextbit to decide to expand to a CDMA version for Verizon; a week later, that CDMA support was announced to support Sprint, as well.
All sounded fine until it came time for Robin to get ready to ship, and in January the company confirmed that the CDMA version of the phone would arrive a little late, with a new ETA of April.
But it turns out that even that April date was optimistic, and now the CDMA Robin won’t be happening at all.
Nextbit is open about taking the blame for this miscalculation, apologizing to backers for being “too optimistic, too bullish,” and making promises it ultimately couldn’t keep. The company says that while initial discussions with CDMA providers suggested that making a CDMA-ready Robin would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take weeks, it ended up being a case of costing millions, and taking months. Rather than continuing to invest in a project that’s become an unexpected resource hog, Nextbit is cutting its losses.
That means providing refunds to all backers who funded the CDMA Robin, as well offering them a 25-percent discount on the GSM Robin, if they can still make use of the phone on another carrier.