We're hackers and modders
Nextbit Employee Khang
Nextbit Employee
‎05-03-2016 02:54 PM
‎05-03-2016 02:54 PM

Over the last couple of weeks, the engineering team at Nextbit took part in a Hackathon contest and the sky was the limit on what they could do with their Robins. 


It was an admirable attempt by Will to port the Android N Developer Preview, but unfortunately ran into some snags...so sorry no N for you guys just yet!

During our company meeting, we had Show and Tell and I was just amazed at our team’s talent.

First up, Mike showed us a fun Developer Setting he wrote called, “Where’s my OTA?” Basically what it did was if you wanted to know where your OTA was, you could tap on that setting and it would prompt a mail client to email Elbert asking him why you hadn’t received an OTA. The team got a good laugh out of it.


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Next, Aanchal showed off two projects she worked on. The first was optimizing the queries on our server and webclient so that our relational database system’s CPU load would be reduced. From the picture below, you can see the spikes on her screen were gone after she implemented the fix.


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But her second project got me really excited because it’s exactly what the community has been asking for - the ability to manually upload applications. She demonstrated her so-called “hack”, but I was really impressed. She was able to offload some apps with just a few taps. I asked when the community would finally see that in Robin, but there isn’t an ETA just yet.

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After Aanchal, Aaron showed off a neat little project he worked on that he called Project Ditto (after the Pokemon). He basically could control another Robin and have it mimic what another Robin was doing through different instructions sent from the host. For instance, by rotating the host, the copy Robin would also rotate. The speed at which this occurred was near instantaneous. A situation might be where Robin A would have an application that Robin B doesn’t have. Robin B could then display the contents of Robin A’s application and interact with that application even though it doesn’t have it installed!

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Next, Nick and Trenton showed off a game they modded called Color Switch. Instead of a circle, they introduced a sheep and in the middle of the rotating shapes would be a Robin that switched the color of the sheep. We downloaded the game and played for a while. It was really difficult...like Flappy Bird-difficult.


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Round Two


In the second round, Trenton showed us a fun boot animation he created using our sheep. Pretty cute, no?



Harold showed us a neat tool he created to provide immediate feedback to the team through a survey interface. Got problems? You’d be able to hit us up with a few taps.


Ravi had a really great solution for our backend to make things more efficient and faster. Currently, our network and services can support a lot of customers, but if we were to scale our business ten-fold, it would require more engineers and would put a ton of stress on our systems. By creating a Peer-to-Peer service discovery system, our services for customers will be faster, and reliable.

Steve worked on a project to give us a stock Google experience. Remember these are just for fun (so far). Anyway, a quick swipe up gesture brought the app drawer and a swipe right and left took us to pinned and archived apps. So the FAB button is gone and to pin and unpin is a simple long press and drag. Will we see this in the future? Only time will tell…but here’s a video:



Davy showed the team a reporting tool he worked on that helps tracking in JIRA which branch of the code base a fix has been provided. So if there's an update in the Gerrit, it'll automagically notify and update that change in JIRA. It means our Engineering team and QA will be more efficient in tracking fixes. 


It was amazing to watch our team present and I'm super proud of our engineers. They're really fun to work with and are so talented. What do you think of these projects? Sound out below in the comments! As you can see, we’ve got some cool stuff in the works - we don’t know when they will be implemented just yet, but huge props to all the participants!

Rebel on the Rise Chacko1
Rebel on the Rise

That is just awesome! It's awesome that such talented people are working on the Robin, just increases the potential to a whole new level! I second that boot animation, that's pretty awesome...I'm looking forward to that modded Color Switch with sheep Smiley Very Happy

Nextbit Product Expert Darragh
Nextbit Product Expert
That boot animation is just... 😍😍😍😍😍😍 . I am also digging that launcher!!
Rebel 3.2

I think "Project Ditto" is awesome, and it could be expanded too. Perhaps this feature could be used to enhance customer service?

For example, if my Robin has an issue, I can permit your people to have mirror access to my Robin so your people can show me a live demo of the feature I am looking for (to solve my issue)

Nextbit Product Expert Paradox
Nextbit Product Expert

I love how everyone in the team came up with something very different! Some are fun and some are functional. Great job guys and thank you Khang for sharing! It's nice seeing the faces behind the engineering team Smiley Happy 


p/s: I really enjoyed the Sheep animation Smiley Very Happy



Rebel 3.6

This kind of spirit is what got me excited about this company/device to begin with...let the ideas and innovation flow out of the rebel think tank!  Fun stuff!

Rebel 2.8

Nice job guys ! The sheep animation is awesome 

Rebel 2.8

It's cool that you encourage hacks and tests to allow more ideas for the Robin. 

Rebel 3.0

Really love these blogs and the insight into the company - great to put faces to the people behind Robin and Nextbit, as well see some of the tinkering and tweaking that you do (the Hangouts are also especially awesome). Please do keep it up!

Rebel on the Rise ellectriknight
Rebel on the Rise

I agree with @XDeathy . That would be super cool and helpful.


I'm loving all the ideas and solutions Nextbit has came up with for the Robin and Nextbit's services.


I really love the survey feedback idea. I think that would really be helpful, especially for a now generation/digital company such as Nextbit.