In a surprise move, Nextbit has canceled its plans for a CDMA version of its Robin smartphone, according to a report from Recode. After repeated delays that pushed the ship date back to April, and issues with the carrier testing process that would've pushed the release of the phone back further, Nextbit decided to cancel the handset destined for carriers like Verizon and Sprint.
Refunds will be issued for all Kickstarter orders for the CDMA model, as well as for any accessories purchased with the device. Customers who purchased the CDMA version will also receive a coupon for 25 percent off the GSM unit, which is already shipping.
Customers will receive a refund and a coupon for 25 percent off the GSM version
In a letter to backers, Nextbit CEO Tom Moss said the company was too bullish and didn't fully realize the cost of getting the CDMA version of the Robin to work on Verizon's network. "We were too optimistic, too bullish, and as a result we have to deal with our biggest fear, disappointing you, our supporters. This is bad for you, and this is bad for us," Moss said. "What people at the carriers, in good faith given our need for quick answers, thought would take ‘weeks’ has turned into ‘months,’ " he continued. "What they thought would cost ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ has turned into ‘millions’. And we’re still not there."
The CMDA version wasn't initially planned, but the company decided to build it after doubling its funding goal on Kickstarter and after users asked for one. The Robin's biggest feature is a "cloud-first" storage system which automatically backs up all the data on your phone and presumably keeps you from ever running out of storage space. But despite an innovative feature to address one of tech's biggest issues, and a creative design that intrigued enough users to raise over a million dollars on Kickstarter, it still wasn't enough to deal with the hassle that is getting a phone approved on Verizon's network. And that may say more about the carrier than the company.