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Cloud-based smartphone hits $1M on Kickstarter -- double the original goal

With its new Robin phone, Nextbit promises to move little-used items from users' handsets to the cloud.

The call of a cloud-based smartphone is proving irresistible for some.

Startup Nextbit, which reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $500,000 on its first day, said late Tuesday that it has now raised more than twice that amount. After hitting its original goal two weeks ago, the company had promised to provide free quick chargers with each of its Robin smartphones if it hits $1 million.

"The response has blown us away, and further proven that a fresh approach to smartphones that solves real problems is something people want in their hands," the company said in a statement. "With that, we are putting new stretch goals in place to keep the interest high to take us through the end of the campaign, which is in 15 days."

Nextbit's Robin smartphone has raised $1 million on kickstarter, doubling its funding goal. CNET

The company, run by executives who formerly worked at Google and HTC, is promising a free Robin T-shirt to all who back the startup to $1.25 million. And if it hits $1.5 million, supporters will receive 129 gigabytes of cloud storage instead of the previous 100 gigabytes promised. That's enough storage to download the 2015 movie "Mad Max: Fury Road" more than two dozen times.

While other phone makers have offered third-party cloud storage services like Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Photos, Nextbit's Robin is the first smartphone to use cloud storage as its key feature. The phone has 32 gigabytes of internal storage, but the Android-powered handset has the supposed ability to intelligently relocate little-used apps, photos, videos and other files to the cloud to ensure users always have plenty of on-device storage.

Showing there is a market for niche attempts to enter the smartphone market, Nexbit also eschewed traditional means of selling a product through a large carrier, opting instead to directly go after consumers through the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing method.

Robin's internal specifications are in line with other premium devices in the market, including a 5.2-inch full high-definition display, a 13-megapixel rear camera and an NFC (near-field communications) chip to allow for mobile payments and a smaller USB Type-C port to connect a charger or cable to link your PC. It employs the same high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that powers the LG G4 smartphone.

Although Nextbit is holding its 30-day campaign now, the Robin won't actually ship until early next year.