Razer, the US-based gaming company with Singaporean roots, has made a move into the smartphone industry with the purchase of Nextbit Systems Inc. — the company behind an ‘indie’ smartphone named Robin.
Robin, which focussed on seamless integration between the Android OS and the cloud, is a casualty of the deal and will be discontinued moving forward. Nextbit will continue systems support and updates for phone owners for the next six months.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed but Razer did acquire the majority of Nextbit’s assets. Nextbit will operate as a standalone business under its new parent company.
“Razer has a track record of disrupting industries where our technology and ability to design and innovate have allowed us to dominate categories with longstanding incumbents, such as the peripherals and laptop categories,” said Razer Co-founder Min-Liang Tan in a statement.
“With the talent that Nextbit brings to Razer, we look forward to unleashing more disruption and growing our business in new areas.”
Nextfit Co-founder and CEO Tom Moss said a major motivator for the deal was to reach a wider audience by joining-up with a larger brand.
““We’re lucky to have found a company in Razer that shares our value of pushing the boundaries of what our devices can do,” Moss said.
Razer should have plenty on cash on hand as, according to Crunchbase, the gaming company has raised US$125 million from the likes of Accel Partners, IDG Capital Partners and Intel Capital. US$75 million of that was raised in a Series C round in February 2016.
In October, 2016, Razer bought George Lucas’s pioneering audio company THX for an undisclosed amount.
Nextbit has publicly raised just under US$20 million so far and the two companies share an investor – Accel Partners. It ran a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015 that netted Nextbit US$1.36 million; in large part because the Robin phone was heaped with much praise for its approach to software and storage.
Robin was released last year and Nextbit should consider the launch a success. The company released what the industry considered a “pretty good phone“. It did not upend the industry, but launching a competent competivie phone with Netbit’s resource disadvantage should be lauded.
Razer is based in Irvine, California and claims to serve a gaming community of about 1 billion people worldwide.