At a time when even a company the size of Microsoft cannot succeed in the smartphone market, a new company called Nextbit thinks it can join Apple and Samsung at the top table. Headed by former HTC and Google staff, it has a secret weapon in the form of a phone that it says will get better with age.
Bucking the trend of smartphone companies urging you to upgrade to the latest and greatest every 12 months, Nextbit says it can improve phone performance over time with updates to the Android software it runs. The company says it will announce its first phone on 1 September, which will be in the "premium tier" of Android handsets – a sector the company says has a price of between $300 and $400 (£193 to £256).
Although Nextbit currently has very little to show for itself – the website contains little more than a brief bio of three staff and links to job vacancies – its confidence appears sky high. Tom Moss, CEO and former head of partnerships for Android at Google, said the phone will be "friggin' awesome" in an interview with Cnet, adding "phone fatigue is a real thing. That's why we're doing something different".
A phone that performs better the older it gets
That something different is a phone that will "perform better over time and function at a higher level because of this software enhancement". Mike Chan, chief technology officer and fellow Android veteran, said the Nextbit phone would rely heavily on cloud storage to let users access as much of their content as they like, even when it is not stored locally on the phone.
Before the upcoming phone, Nextbit created a cloud-based tool that allowed Android users to move files and settings between devices. "We're focusing on a device that can adapt to you," he said, adding that future models will tackle issues with short smartphone battery life.
Despite the bold claims, Nextbit says it will not be modifying Android in the way Amazon does with its Fire phone and tablets. As for hardware, the company has recruited Scott Croyle, who in his role as senior vice president of design and user experience at HTC was responsible for the look of the critically acclaimed One M7 and M8.
Nextbit will have an uphill battle on its hands to get its name into the public conscience, let alone hope to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. And in pricing itself slightly below them, the company will have Chinese upstarts Xiaomi and OnePlus for company, who both sell excellent flagships for half the price of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.