Smartphone manufacturers like HTC may be close to calling it quits, but that’s apparently done little to deter some companies from following in their footsteps. In an interview with CNET, Tom Moss, the co-founder and CEO of a San Francisco-based startup called Nextbit Systems, said that his company is preparing to announce a “friggin’ awesome” smartphone on September 1st.
What is Nextbit, you ask?
Founded in 2013, it began as a startup that focused its efforts on a cloud-based tool that allowed users to move their files and settings between different devices. It has since pivoted, and now intends to launch its own Android device. In this endeavour it has the support of Google Ventures, which, in 2014, invested in the company’s $18 million Series A round.
Since then, Nextbit has made a number of notable hires, including Scott Croyle, the former HTC design chief responsible for the design of the One M8. Croyle added to a base that already included the aforementioned Moss and Mike Chan, two important figures in the early development of Android, as well as other talented engineers cobbled together from companies like Apple, Amazon and Google.
As for how the company plans to differentiate itself in an already crowded market, Moss says the smartphone Nextbit has created features an enhanced version of Android, and a design that recalls some of HTC’s biggest hits.
“We’re supercharging it,” said Moss in regards to Nextbit’s implementation of Android. The company’s big promise is that “your phone will perform better over time and function at a higher level because of this software enhancement.”
It’s a big promise, especially given that almost every piece of technology ages poorly. In pursuing its vision of Android, Nextbit says it won’t take a similar approach to Amazon, which forked Android with Fire OS; instead, it sees itself as carrying on the vision of the original Android development team, which saw the operating system as a base for handset creators to tinker with in order to create better experiences. Sounds a bit like Cyanogen Inc.’s vision.
Moss also went on to say that Nextbit’s upcoming device will address the storage issue that affect many smartphones. The company plans to call upon its roots as a cloud software developer to create a framework that allows users to store as many apps, photos, songs and videos as they want. Additionally, according to The Verge, the company has developed a framework that allows a user to save an app state and continue using it in that exact state on another device.
While Moss didn’t reveal the exact amount the phone will cost when it launches, he did note that it will be priced somewhere in Android’s $300 to $400 premium price range. Whether the company will be a success remains to be seen, but it’s certainly sure of its chances. “Phone fatigue is a real thing,” he said to CNET. “That’s why we’re doing something different.”