Andy Rubin, the father of Android, plans to launch a bezel-less phone to take on the iPhone and Google Pixel
For now, Essential is a small company employing about 40 people, some of whom had previously worked at Google, Apple, or Samsung. Serving as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Essential, Andy Rubin reportedly visited CES 2017 earlier this month to talk about his new smartphone with US carriers, including Sprint.
Bloomberg has it that the upcoming Essential phone should feature an edge-to-edge display and high-end materials, being aimed at competing with top of the line handsets like Apple's iPhone, Google's Pixel, and Samsung's Galaxy flagships. Allegedly, at least one prototype sports a screen larger than 5.5 inches, while overall being smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus, since it "lacks" bezels. Essential is testing various levels of pressure sensitivity for the screen, perhaps for functionality akin to Apple's 3D Touch. Also in testing are metal edges (for the whole phone) and a ceramic-made back.
The Essential phone may not run Androidinteresting thing about this high-end Essential handset is that it's supposed to support add-on accessories - in the same way that Motorola's Moto Z family supports Moto Mods. Bloomberg notes that Essential is trying to develop a proprietary port that should be used for charging, as well as for connecting to add-ons. One of these add-ons could be a 360-degree camera.
The first Essential smartphone might be released as soon as the middle of 2017. Bloomberg says that the handset could cost about as much as an iPhone 7, though nothing has been decided yet. The handset may be manufactured by Foxconn, which also builds iPhones for Apple. For now, it's not clear if the device has anything to do with Android. In any case, last year, Andy Rubin talked about new computing platforms, mentioning that the next one should be "about data and people training AI (Artificial Intelligence) systems to learn." With Rubin's experience and know-how, we might very well see a brand new operating system debuting with the upcoming Essential phone.
Regarded by many as the father of Android, Andy Rubin co-founded Android Inc. and started developing Android in 2003. Two years later, in 2005, Google bought Android, hiring Rubin to oversee what was to become the world's most popular mobile OS. Now, it appears that Andy Rubin is ready do to his own thing when it comes to smartphones, and we're genuinely looking forward to seeing what will come out of this.
Andy Rubin photo courtesy of Playground, a startup incubator founded by Rubin.
This story is part of:Andy Rubin's new phone - Essential (10 updates)
30 May U.S. carriers confirm the Essential Phone will work on their networks, but none will offer it directly (UPDATED)
30 May Andy Rubin's new high-end Android smartphone to be unveiled later today?
26 May Andy Rubin's Essential phone gets teased on Twitter, is this a 360-degree camera we're seeing?
25 May First Essential smartphone (developed by Andy Rubin) could be announced next week
17 April Andy Rubin's Essential Android smartphone spotted on GFXBench