Essential shutting down after not being able to finish Project GEM

Essential shutting down after not being able to finish Project GEM
Four months ago Essential surprised us, and the world, with a brand-new device codenamed GEM. It was a very narrow-sized smartphone that was supposedly equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor and should have run Android 10 at launch.

Unfortunately, it looks like Project GEM was too much for the US company. Essential announced today that it will cease operations and shut down the company. The reason behind the decision is explained in a short statement and refers to owners of the PH-1 smartphone:

If you own Essential's PH-1 smartphone, you'll probably be disappointed to hear that the security update released on February 3 will be the last one coming from the Essential software team. There will be no additional updates or customers supported available for PH-1 users going forward.

Also, Essential announced the Newton Mail users will continue to have access to the service until April 30, 2020. Essential's goodbye gift for PH-1 users is a prebuilt vendor image and everything else needed for tech-savvy to continue to hack the phone's software, which will be uploaded on the company's GitHub.

Related phones

  • Display 5.7 inches
    2560 x 1312 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB,
  • Battery 3040 mAh
  • OS Android 10



22. Krjal

Posts: 448; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

I wasn't surprised at the news but I'm disappointed that the project Gem phone won't be coming now. Their software and ux design for it had a lot of potential and I'd have loved a chance to play with something that unique. Good on them releasing the essential phone software for their customers though. That's a rare but super appreciated measure I'm sure.

19. tokuzumi

Posts: 2029; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Project GEM was something that no one would buy. Not even sure why it was green lighted. Would have been interesting to hear the tech blogs discuss how terrible it would have been.

20. sgodsell

Posts: 7679; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I didn't see project gem go far either. However I was hoping they came out with another essential type smartphone. It was ahead of it's time, and was heavily criticized when it was released. The price was high, but soon after they dropped the price down and released a lot of fixes, that made the essential phone much better. It's base storage was 128 GB. When other flagships started with a base of 32 GB of storage. The titanium frame and ceramic back was also ahead of it's time. The cameras were really great after the first major update. Great phone. Sad to see them go.

14. highwaysnobbery

Posts: 62; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

Hahahahahaha...........whuuuttt............hahahah​aha. No seriously they thought that would save them? I thought they were on the right path with the Phone 1, if they would have followed it up with P2 and a P3 and worked out some of the kinks along the way, they'd be gold.

18. CrapGame

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 29, 2019

Geekcentric company produces a Geekcentric phone with a purportedly poor camera and buggy stock android. Nice design however but not what the masses want.

11. oldtymer

Posts: 75; Member since: Jan 31, 2020

I want a foldable phone.. I just need my essential phone to last one more year then I should have some options... Hoping for a gen 2 razr

10. oldtymer

Posts: 75; Member since: Jan 31, 2020

This sucks... I like my essential phone... I probably have a year before it's too dated

9. CDexterWard

Posts: 146; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Another one bites the dust.... When you can’t even outlast HTC’s Mobile division, you got issues.

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

Welp! I said Essential wouldn’t last through through the year 2020 last year. The Essential Phone was far too expensive for what it offered, had a crappy camera and buggy software. There were those that made excuses for them, but the writing was on the wall when the first Essential Phone was a flop. Now Essential is dead.

12. Penny

Posts: 1880; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Did you ever buy/use the Essential Phone?

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yes, I did. I got it off of Amazon when the price dropped. I kept it for about 3 weeks and then returned it. I did not enjoy the experience. If you’ve followed me enough on this site, I post proof when asked about what I own if it’s still in my possession. There is no need for me to lie about something like that, like many others do here. Did YOU ever buy/use the Essential Phone?

21. Penny

Posts: 1880; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Sorry, I wasn't accusing you of lying -- you never claimed to have used it in the first place. I was just trying to qualify your opinion because I had a very different experience. And yes, I bought the Essential Phone, but some months after the initial release. By that time, prices had already dropped to ~$400. My experience from that point was very positive. I loved the premium, relatively compact build, and I personally did not notice any outstanding bugs as had been reported by those that used the phone early on. I thought the cameras were great in good light, and mediocre in less than perfect light, but overall very good for the price I paid (either $350 or $450, don't remember). So yeah, based on my perception of its build quality, lack of bloat, camera performance, and overall software experience, my experience was very different from yours. I think it would have been well worth even $600 at that time (launched for $700 though, which was a mistake).

23. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

I get my hands on a lot of smartphones, either through buying them from a carrier (rarely, though), buying unlocked from Amazon or eBay, or through loaning/trading with a friend of mines. I bought the Essential Phone because I don't like to talk about something without having experienced it. I knew I could return it within a month for a full refund from Amazon, so I went for it. I was disappointed in the software and the camera. The build quality was good. I never mentioned it here because my experience with it was overshadowed by my use of other smartphones at the time, and then I sent it back. Tbh, I own or have owned a lot of smartphones that I haven't mentioned it here, from various smartphone OEM's.

24. Venom

Posts: 4129; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

He didn't. He's only attacking Essential because I favor them. I've been away for a few days but I'm back now to put him in his place again.

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lol, you’re not that important, so don’t flatter yourself. You’ve been away because I put you away due to me always putting you in your place in these comments sections. By the way, your jealousy and anger because I’ve actually owned the smartphones I say I have, while you post photoshopped images pretending to own something and delete them later when I call you out in it is duly noted.

26. Venom

Posts: 4129; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Lol please. You can never put me away. You've been trying to since I started coming here two years ago and it hasn't worked out at all. The only reason you're trying to trash talk Essential and pretend to own one to save face is because I said that they were severely underrated.

27. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao I’ve put you away 9 times already. You’ve been here much longer than 2 years, since your mxyzptlk account that I forced you to deactivate. Your other 8 accounts I got banned. This is your 10th one. Just about everyone on this site knows who you really are. You aren’t fooling anyone, lol. Between the two of us, you’re the only one that pretends to own smartphones. I proved that when I called you out on that photoshopped image you posted on Imgur that you quickly deleted, and when I proved that you didn’t the Nokia 6.1 because you didn’t even know what SoC it used. And I don’t need to trash talk Essential. The company and the phone did that without my help, which is why they are dead now.

28. Venom

Posts: 4129; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Lol I needed that laugh at your expense. You are once again obsessed with something that has nothing to do with me. You have never put me away and I don't know what accounts you are talking about because you are the only one who has multiple accounts. I've only been here for a two years unlike you who has been here much longer with over 23K posts. Lol I haven't uploaded anything to imgur but deflecting. I see that you are still going on about the Nokia SoC, so again I challenge you to find the post where I apparently didn't know what the SoC is.

29. meanestgenius

Posts: 23102; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao jokes on you, and always has been, mxyzptlk. Everyone knows who you really are, how you’re obsessed with everything I favor (you even admitted with your mxyzptlk account that you have a problem with BlackBerry because of me, lol), and that you’re a multi-account troll. Your combined posts from all of your accounts far exceeds mines. You sure did upload that photoshopped image to Imgur while using your mxyzptlk account, and I exposed you for it, and that’s why you quickly deleted it lmao. And you didn’t know what SoC the Nokia 6.1 was using, and I challenge you to find the post proving that you did.

7. 44alexsmith

Posts: 22; Member since: Oct 06, 2016

It is obvious why Essential closed shop. First Essential released an expensive phone with a lousy camera. The camera was the primary deal breaker for the first Essential Phone(everything else was actually nice). The GEM, wow, talk about a dumb idea. Geez. RIP Essential.

6. Sealblaighter

Posts: 443; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

It was a stupid decision in my opinion. They should have make a successor of their first smart phone, not a super long stupid looking device which can not even fit in your pocket! Come on, we are talking about mobile devices, not a sword!

5. ECPirate37

Posts: 359; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

This site needs more ads on the desktop page. Over half the page is covered in ads now. Makes me want to get an ad-blocker.

4. libra89

Posts: 2355; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm surprised this didn't happen earlier. Glad I got rid of mine when I did lol

3. inFla

Posts: 235; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Too bad they didn't develop a PH-2 instead of wasting time on the GEM.

2. Mobilephile

Posts: 175; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

TBH this was DOA. Rubin was high af thinking the market wanted a long remote as a daily driver

1. mcdanielvzw

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 10, 2016

"customers supported available for PH-1 users " Guess there is no customer support either then?

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