Nextbit, the startup firm that developed the Robin smartphone, has been acquired by Razer. This latest move by Razer is proof that the company is making an aggressive effort to expand its operations beyond developing hardware and software for gamers. Three months prior, Razer had also completed its acquisition of THX, the familiar audio technology company.
The full terms of Razer’s acquisition of Nextbit have not been made public yet by both companies, but according to sources, there might have been some significant equity portion involved in the deal. Remember that Nextbit had managed to raise $18 million in funding from Accel, GV and Dentsu, not to mention an additional $1.36 million by way of Kickstarter as part of a crowd funding campaign in order to distribute its Robin handset.
With regards to the organizational structure, Razer will be looking to integrate 30 personnel from Nextbit. As explained by Min-Liang Tan, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Razer, the plan is to have Nextbit operate as its own standalone business unit, continuing to release more devices that feature the Nextbit brand.
With regards to the already released Robin smartphone, however, this device will not be included in Nextbit’s future lineup of handsets. After all, Min has confirmed that the Robin has already been discontinued. Still, the software and existing units will continue to have support for half a year. As for future Nextbit branded devices, Min is mum about providing any advance information, especially if upcoming models will be patterned after Robin. But Min did stress that the acquisition’s objective was more of getting Nextbit’s talents on board, and it does not necessarily mean that every new device will be expanding upon the Robin template.
Apart from acquiring Nextbit recently and THX three months ago, Razer has also bought the gaming company Ouya close to a couple of years ago. Going further back in 2008, Razer had also quietly purchased OQO, whose talents made up the core team that developed laptop devices later on for Razer.
Razer appears to be relishing the multifaceted nature of its business. But while gaming remains to be a priority for the company, expanding to mobile might turn out to be a wise decision, considering how much of the gaming market nowadays consists of mobile users. Simply put -- Pokemon Go became really big because everybody owns smartphones now.
As for Nextbit, being acquired by Razer may not be too bad, considering that by becoming part of Razer, it can now benefit fully from Razer’s already formidable pool of customers. But as shown by similar deals in the past, acquisitions can often fail, due to a combination of unfavorable factors. Razer and Nextbit must now work together to prevent that from happening, especially in a market as competitive as mobile.
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