Essential's new smartphone is the weirdest thing we've seen

Essential's new smartphone is the weirdest thing we've seen
If you've read our previous report about Essential's next device, then you know that the US company is already testing its unannounced smartphone. The only details revealed by a report from XDA Developers were related to the version of the OS and chipset inside. Starting today, we can attach a picture to all these reports regarding Essential's next smartphone. Well, we hope we can, as the device shown in these pictures can hardly be called a phone.

Andy Rubin has just tweeted a few images of Essential's new device and from what we're seeing this is by far the weirdest thing we've seen to date. Looking at how the device sits in one's hand, we can't help but wonder whether this is a phone or a remote.

Anyway, Rubin calls the device GEM, the same codename that popped up in a previous report. The GEM is supposedly equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor and should run Android 10 at launch.

Essential admitted earlier today that it's “been working on a new device that’s now in early testing with our team outside the lab. We look forward to sharing more in the near future.” Apparently, Rubin jumped the gun on the announcement and shared some photos of the device.


Some of the components that we're seeing in these pictures are the large camera on the back, which features a small LED flash in the upper left corner. Also, the fingerprint sensor is positioned below the camera. The very narrow display has a front-facing hole-punch camera in the top-left corner, and a small speaker grill sits on the top side.

Since Andy Rubin decided to get straight to the point and share these pictures, we imagine that it won't be long until Essential comes up with the announcement, so stay tuned for more on the subject.

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56 Comments

1. phonefanboy

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

It's weird until Apple does it, right? Like big phones, dual camera, notches etc... etc... etc...

4. Vancetastic

Posts: 1581; Member since: May 17, 2017

Dude, that thing is just plain weird.

29. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Weird looking, yes. But I could see this being useful. Especially if all you need is a phone with data, and will also allow your other devices to tether. Since the screen looks really skinny, then it could definitely save on battery life. At first I thought it was something that would strap a display over your eyes.

44. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

From what I hear Rubin suffers from a bit of Megalomania. He screwed up the first Essential and now comes up with this, forgetting that approximately 50% of the population are male and generally put phones in their pockets where this thing certainly won't fit. He also overlooked the fact that phones have grown bigger because they've become devices for media consumption. No media will render properly on this thing. Kudos to him for inventing Android and all that, but he's no Steve Jobs (and I'm not a big fan of Jobs) and should stay out of the design business. This thing isn't only weird it's an egomaniacs folly.

34. IT-Engineer

Posts: 566; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

I agree.

45. AlienKiss

Posts: 203; Member since: May 21, 2019

At least we have to give them credit for coming up with something different. Most of us probably won't buy it, but there's always someone who wants something different. Try to think outside the box. I remember when Nokia released the Communicator. Everyone was criticizing them but it turned out to be a huge success.

6. maherk

Posts: 6960; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

What does this have to do with Apple? You seem to be more obsessed about them than their fanboys. And as an Essential fan who bought the PH1 when it first was released, I also find this "phone" ridiculous and puzzling to say the least.

11. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2451; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Actually you may be right about a certain influence from an older Apple device that makes this a genius move. It looks like an elongated iPod Nano. Which was probably one of the most popular forms of the iPod ever made. At least that’s what I am reminded of when I see the form factor and the color choices. I’m very interested to see the pricing of this thing and features.

33. Vokilam

Posts: 1278; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I like it... I think there is a market for these.

39. scarface21173

Posts: 700; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Looks like a TV remote

43. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

This is mother of weirdness.

2. uchihakurtz

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I'm pretty sure it's October not April

3. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 173; Member since: May 29, 2019

As if taller displays had enough difficulties with one hand already, they solved the horizontal swipe accessibility but not the vertical swipe accessibility, and companies are slowly backtracking on the former.

5. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Doesn't look taller than let's say OnePlus 7T but it is indeed a lot narrower. I'm curious to see the use cases imagined for it :)

7. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 173; Member since: May 29, 2019

This should be its own device category. Some camera phones way back when adopted form factors that were far from ergonomically sufficient to be used as a conventional cell phone. But they stood out and appealed to their own category, so I can't speak for everyone with my recent comment.

8. mackan84

Posts: 555; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

I can’t make out if that’s a huge camera or narrow smartphone? Now if that sensor is bigger and better then anything on a smartphone, this might sell.

47. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

There is indeed a sizeable camera hump, but the lens doesn't look too promising for a large sensor. But a large sensor is about the only thing that could save it. It will probably be positioned to be able to record horizontally by holding the phone vertically, like the Motorola One Action.

9. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Hhmmm, I kinda like it. Well yeah it might be weird but it looks really handy, it seems like half a size of a regular smartphone.

26. maherk

Posts: 6960; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

It would be an awful device to do pretty much what vast majority of us do on a smartphone. With such a narrow face, it'll be horrible experience for consuming media, playing games, navigating, even taking pictures. The aspect ratio is very limiting imo.

31. mackan84

Posts: 555; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

I think it’s serves pretty good to what we do the most on our smartphones. Swiping thru a flow of text, social media and websites, it will give thumbs some rest. Navigating will probably work fine, pics will be small and those YouTube-vids We watch are often quick laughs and quick info which it would work fine for. Left is playing games, I hear all the time that no one is playing games on their phone here so it’s still a big market for it.

40. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1185; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

If this is a prototype, and it is suppose to something like a flip phone, you know, like you could bend it in the middle, it might actually work, but if it’s a straight bar, it’s a no go from me.

10. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Woa and I thought Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 were too narrow.... I don't see much benefits of this

12. odachek

Posts: 127; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Women will love this design! LOL!

13. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Better than iphone design

14. chris2k5

Posts: 283; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

They are copying Apple iPod nano now. Typical Android.

18. OneLove123

Posts: 1189; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Yep, like essential copied iPhone notch. Shame on android.

21. Vogue1985

Posts: 480; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Looks like iPhone copied the galaxy note big size,the note LG V series,the twin camera from the LG G5 (first to gave twin cams),the USB type from Android, the wireless charging, even the Pro name scheme from android. The camera design from the Huawei Mate 20 and mate 20 pro. SIT DOWN. And just for your info,the Apple Iphone 4/4s and ipod copied Sonys mini disc Walkman back in 2006,Sony even used Apple . Sit down

23. Vancetastic

Posts: 1581; Member since: May 17, 2017

I have an iPod nano. It doesn't look anything like this thing.

15. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Screen is 36:9 ratio...

16. OneLove123

Posts: 1189; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Looks like a 5in 21:9

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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