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:
In October, we introduced Project GEM, a new mobile experience that our hardware, software and cloud teams have been building and testing for the past few years. Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. 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. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.
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.