Android co-creator's smartphone startup, Essential, shuts down

The Essential Gem was slated to deliver smartphone performance in only a portion of its size but it appears the phone will now never see the light of day in commercial launch

The new Essential Phone had a odd form-factor: long and narrow, nearly like a TV remote control.

Essential was founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android.

Essential posted the news on the company's official blog today, noting that the Essential Phone (PH-1) won't get any further updates.

Andy Rubin's Essential launched its first phone in 2017, and it turns out that will be its only phone. The Essential PH-1 received Android 10 on January 6th this year which shows how great they were with software updates.

In a blog post on the Essential website today, the company announced that it is ceasing operations immediately and permanently. Additionally, Rubin talked about a "new UI for a radically different form-factor", and the "GEM Colorshift material" of the phone was also something pretty interesting.


"Despite our best efforts, we've now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers", it added. In the meantime, Essential was trying to develop a platform for smart homes called Ambient OS. Regardless, the news that a tech startup - one with a history of doing this differently - is at the end of the road, despite controversy surrounding its founder, is sad to hear. Rubin was reportedly paid $90M to leave Google after an investigation upheld a sexual assault complaint filed against him.

In spite of all of that, Essential appeared to have all the ingredients for success - or at least, early on.

We suspect Project Gem would've also struggled to stand out in the market when the current craze is foldable phones.

Rubin is best known as the former Google executive who helped make Android into one of the biggest mobile operating systems in the world.

But on Wednesday, Essential said in a blog post that the decision to cease operations came after its "Project Gem", an elongated phone unveiled late past year, hit a dead end.

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