Monday, May 30, 2016

Indian introduction of the Nextbit Robin

May 30 is a holiday in the United States (Memorial Day), so this is as good a day as any for me to attempt to snag 1 billion readers by writing something for the Indian market. I've done it before.

May 30 turns out to be day that the Nextbit Robin will be introduced in India, and it's fascinating to observe how Nextbit has to adapt to the Indian market.

One difference is the price. The Nextbit Robin is being offered in India at the equivalent of US$300, as opposed to the $400 that someone in the United States would spend. Since phones often have to be activated by local service providers, this price difference can probably be maintained without all of us in the United States rushing to Flipkart to buy Indian phones.

Another difference is the lack of a microSD card. Not for price reasons, but because (according to Ryan Whitwam) microSD cards are "extremely uncommon in the Indian market." Instead, Nextbit offers cloud storage capability.

By merging cloud and onboard storage, Robin seamlessly backs up your apps and photos, intelligently archives the stuff you’re not using, and easily restores items when you need them.

In essence, this phone's 32 GB of storage ends up being 132 GB when the free cloud storage is added. However, the cloud storage mechanism may not work that well in India, according to Siddhartha Sharma:

Now the biggest problem with the cloud storage system is that in India, connectivity is a major problem. The cloud storage works seamlessly on a WiFi connection on the Robin, but struggles over 3G or a 4G connection.

For instance, when I didn't play Real Racing 3 for a wee,k the phone backed up the app and its data to the cloud. And after a week when I felt like giving the game a try I had to wait for 15 minutes for it to download the app back to my phone, given that the app was over 1 GB.

Connectivity is a real problem in India, and one realises it when phones like the Nextbit Robin, boasting of the cloud-first approach, comes to India.

Frankly, even in the United States this may be problematic - if your service provider charges you for the data uploads and downloads.

Back to India - the Nextbit is an Android phone, and Android does well in India.

Samsung Electronics, Micromax Informatics and Intex led the Indian mobile phone market in the quarter ended March....It was a huge quarter for Indian brands - their share of the smartphone market was at an all-time high of 45%, while 67% of all phones shipped were made in India, according to CyberMedia Research's India mobile handset report on Tuesday.

Apple in India? Less than one percent of the market. In the United States, the iPhone market share is over 40%.
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