Essential phone is a new company formed by Andy Rubin, set to be launched in mid-June
Essential Phone features an edge-to-edge screen, a titanium-and-ceramic case and dual cameras.
Andy Rubin is the co-creator of Android and built the Danger Hiptop, one of the first devices to merge threaded messaging, email and the full web into a phone. He also built Google’s mobile and digital content businesses, and started Google’s robotics efforts via the acquisitions of Boston Dynamics, Schaft and others. Palo Alto-based Essential said the new Essential Phone features an edge-to-edge screen, a titanium-and-ceramic case and dual cameras. The phone sells for $699 and will run the Android operating system. The price pits it against high-end smartphones including Apple Inc’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S8.
One of the signature features of the Essential phone is a modular accessory system that Rubin and co promise will “keep your phone cord-free, future-proof, and always up-to-date.” Featuring a pair of magnetic pins on the back of the device, this so-called Click cordless connector will hook up to Essential’s 360-degree camera and its Essential Phone Dock (pictured below).
Essential, Rubin’s new company, unveiled its first smartphone alongside an Amazon Echo-like device and a new operating system called “Ambient”. The three were revealed online, but all that Essential is providing at this point is renders and graphics so we’ll have to wait on the final verdict. However, it will be difficult to break into the huge market dominance of established brands.
Samsung currently has the largest share of the smartphone market, with 21% of global sales, according to analyst firm Gartner. Apple enjoys 14%.
The Essential Phone is made from titanium and has a screen that stretches across most of the device, with minimal bezel.Mr Rubin promised that the titanium design made the Phone strong enough to not need a case. There are no logos on the device – something which aids the clean look of the phone, but will make it even tougher to build brand recognition among smartphone buyers who do not follow technology news.
Rubin, Essential’s CEO, co-founded Android and sold it to Google in 2005. He ran Google’s mobile efforts until 2013 before a brief stint running the firm’s robotics division. He left Google in 2014 to focus on starting hardware companies.
Investors in Essential include Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings, iPhone contract manufacturer Foxconn , Redpoint Ventures and Altimeter Capital.
Essential for the first time revealed its staff on its website, listing Wolfgang Muller as head of channel sales. Muller previously ran North American retail operations for phone maker HTC, according to his LinkedIn profile, suggesting that Essential plans to sell phones through retail stores, carriers or both.
Essential plans to announce a ship date for the devices in the next few weeks.