Essential is alive but unwell, laying off 30 percent of its workforce to focus on a new product

Essential is alive but unwell, laying off 30 percent of its workforce to focus on a new product
Essential Products, the (overly) ambitious startup founded around three years ago by ex-Googler and Android co-creator Andy Rubin, may not be dead... yet, but it’s certainly not doing too well either.

After reportedly pulling the plug on a standard sequel to the promising but poorly reviewed and weak-selling Essential Phone, the company was recently rumored to be working on an entirely different type of product from anything we’ve ever seen.

While that AI-centric project might still be in development, it appears a large chunk of Essential’s current workforce is considered unnecessary. We’re talking a whopping 30 percent of Rubin’s employees, which inside sources say were involved in the hardware and sales departments.

An Essential spokesperson has confirmed to Bloomberg an unspecified number of people are “leaving the company”, getting all the help they need to pursue the future career path of their choice.

Since this is still a relatively small outfit with a limited number of focus areas, that staggering percentage probably translates into just a few dozen layoffs. But the move strongly suggests Essential is gathering all its resources to try one last hardware gamble. A “truly game changing consumer product” or bust. 

Keep in mind that Rubin considered selling the company at one point too, although every day that goes by without a new product unveiled is causing its value to shrink. Canceling devices is even worse, which seems to have happened with the Essential Home. The headphone jack-reviving Audio Adapter HD mod is also yet to commercially materialize, but that’s likely set to change pretty soon. Even after this painful round of layoffs.

source: Bloomberg

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37 Comments

1. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2274; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Andy why bother? Just cut ties with Android. It's way, way saturated. Everything that is out now is the same thing that's available today. If you created your own OS and Apps Store and services maybe you might have a chance.

4. cncrim

Posts: 1590; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

LOL, are you kidding me? Even Microsoft can't even take on IOS and Android what make you think small start up can take over the giant? Rubin is smart men, I think his strongest one probably design and new ideas, but I dont think he great bussinessmen. He tried this and that but then give up after the first attempt. I said a good businessman need to good determination and at least try 3 times before give up.

6. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I don't think he's a businessman. He needs someone that can do the business side of things for Essential. On paper, the Essential phone is a fantastic phone that is easily worth the price it's at TODAY. I know some people are going to talk out of their backside with the usual hot garbage, but I'm not a mean jerk so I just going to post the facts.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Essential can’t cut it using Android, so they wouldn’t stand even half of a chance using a homegrown OS. I know that others feel that this company has a chance, and will even spit the usual hot garbage that they do to down other companies in an effort to make Essential look good, but the writings on the wall. Not trying to spew impotent venom or anything, so I just post the facts.

18. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Be wary of people claiming to post facts. Their "facts" aren't rooted in nothing more than pure bs with no credibility behind them whatsoever. Don't trust people who don't know what they are talking about. Trust the people who have spoken with hands on experience, not fake geniuses.

2. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I wish Essential the best here. Really think the Essential One was a solid device. It had great hardware and ran stock Android very well. At the price that I bought it for, it was a very premium phone. I hope they continue and just target a lower than flagship segment from the get-go, while still maintaining premium specs like the Essential One had.

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

This company is done. It's unfortunate, because they really had a promising product on paper, but it was ruined by buggy, unfinished software and hardware issues which caused a botched launch that they couldn't recover from. Add in the exorbitant price tag for what Essentially launched as a beta phone, and the Essential Phone essentially flopped. I hope they can make a successful comeback, but I doubt it.

5. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

This company is not done. It's fortunate, because they really have a promising product on paper, but it was improved by fast, consistent software updates and exaggerated hardware issues from people who have never picked one up in their life which didn't cause a botched launch that they couldn't recover from. Add in the exorbitant price tag last year for what Essentially launched as a better phone than some of the Android One phones, and the Essential Phone essentially became a great value. I know they can make a successful comeback, but I doubt some people will say so because they are too busy making an a-- of themselves. Fact checked with the truth.

10. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Instead of taking cheap potshots and taking my comments so seriously that you’re now triggered with rage and going on a “cheap potshot” rampage, why not address me directly like I’m doing to you now? And spare me the cowardly response of you not taking potshots, because we both know that you are. Just own up to it. Essential is DONE. Get over it. It is unfortunate, but they just couldn’t cut it. Period. Thems the breaks, kiddo. They can update the ONE and ONLY product that they have as fast and as much as they want to, but it won’t save them. They still can’t even fix their connection issues with a certain network. If they can’t get their ONE smartphone to perform the basic function of a smartphone, what hope of remaining alive do they really have? Slim to none. The issues that Essential has been having aren’t “exaggerated”, but of course you’d give an OEM that you favor a pass on their mishaps. And speaking of “never picked one up”, you can add yourself to that list, as you’ve never even used an Essential Phone, much less own one. They clearly haven’t recovered from their botched, bug filled beta phone launch, as they keep cutting the price of the ONE phone that they have, and are now laying off staff. You’re just too busy being in denial and making shill-tastic a— of yourself with your triggered cheap potshots to admit it. Fact checked with the truth.

16. yobolegend

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 14, 2016

I disagree Essential is not done. Though cutting manpower, cancels Essential 2, still they have some projects plans and future. Even not as successful as they hopes. Just my opinion...

17. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

I agree that we disagree. I believe it's only a matter of time beige they shut down completely. It's unfortunate, and I hope that they can pull through, even if another smartphone OEM snatches them up. But I won't hold my breath.

19. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Don't waste your time trying to reason with something that is devoid of reason. We both know that Essential isn't done until the fat lady sings.

20. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

If I wanted to take a shot at you, I would have done so. Maybe you shouldn't be so paranoid. Maybe that's just your guilty conscience speaking yet again. You should stop projecting. Just because you are mad that the Essential phone is a better value for the money than the KeyTWO is doesn't mean the Essential phone is a flop. You are still triggered by the truth.

24. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Clearly you wouldn't, and that's why you took the cowards approach. The only reason you're responding directly to me now is in a pitiful attempt to save face. Maybe you should just be a man about yours and stop taking cowardly potshots. You should stop projecting and pretending. We both know you've never even touched an Essential Phone. The Key2 has absolutely nothing to do with this article, but thanks for proving once again what I've said about you all along with your incessant trolling of BlackBerry smartphones, lol. By the way, Essential is a flop, and that's why the sales were so weak. You're just triggered by the facts.

30. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

That's fine by me. I mean, how dare a company tries to offer something else against the iphone and the Galaxy. I already acknowledged that they did stumble at first with the release due to pricing, but they have definitely improved the phone a lot since then. But of course that eludes you because you're going to say anything otherwise that goes against what I said and you're only attacking Essential because I happen to praise them. You're not fooling anyone. You think you're clever, but you're not. You are blind to what's been going on while I continue to verbally destroy you each and every time with the facts and sound logic. If I wanted to address you directly, as I have done multiple times before, I would have just done so. But don't let the facts get in the way of your false narrative.

34. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

You don’t have a choice but for it to be fine by you. And plenty of companies offer “something else” against the iPhone and the Galaxy line of smartphones, they just happen to do it more successfully than Essential does. They stumbled on mire than just pricing, too. They stumbled on software and hardware. And they still haven’t fixed the connection issues on T-Mobiles network. But of course these things elude you because you’re going to go against what I said (even though it’s all documented facts) because it’s me that’s saying it. You’re not fooling anyone, and are completely oblivious to what’s really going on as I continue to verbally devastate you each and every time (and doing do to you on your 10th account now) with documented facts and logic that you just can’t overcome. You are too afraid to address me, as you keep taking cheap potshots, as you have done multiple times, even on this very article. But not let the facts get in the way you of you changing them to suit your false narrative.

7. yobolegend

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 14, 2016

Im using PH-1 and it was good phone so as the other. MY QUESTION IS WHY PA doesn't update their Review score 4. Not FAIR other tech websites does.

11. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

RIP Essential. Even they’re the first to market the notch, the were overshadowed by apple’s notch and Samsung loving it in their ads.

12. perry1234

Posts: 654; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I am sad. The updates and support for this device has been on point. Unfortunately, it launched with a mediocre set of cameras bad marketing strategy and a lot of hardware issues as per forums. I might pick one up if it falls under $150. Though it is too less , it is better than nothing.

13. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1277; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

I think, they still have a chance. There is a VERY BIG VOID left after closing the Nexus devices, which are bang for the bucks and superb android experience. It is just OnePlus which is making use of that space a little bit. Essential Team, please release Nexus type device @ Nexus price and just don't target the Pixel and other premium devices segment. I am sure, you can win then...

14. bonnie100th

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 01, 2010

to meanestgenius , Your forum handle it's way over your capabilities and judgment. What did you accomplish so far?

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

And who are you, little girl? Wait, I know. You’re nobody. As insignificant and useless as the day is long. And this right here, saying my name, is the highlight of your life. You should be thanking me right now. Run along, nobody. Go back to Nowheresville where you belong.

26. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

But you took time to respond to him, so apparently what he said must have really gotten under your skin and it's hilarious.

35. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Just as both of you young ladies took the time to either mention my name, or respond to me, which means that what I say has clearly gotten under the skin of the both of you. It's HILARIOUS hilarious, lol.

21. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Lol. I agree

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lol, I agree that what I said pertains to you too, little girl.

27. Venom

Posts: 3821; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

You agree that I was right? I know I was right, so you don't have to remind me.

33. meanestgenius

Posts: 22468; Member since: May 28, 2014

Nah, I agree that you’re nobody, so you don’t have to keep reminding of this.

36. bonnie100th

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 01, 2010

Meanestgenius, I have a brand new never used Essential in the factory box. It's a collectors item. i can give you a good deal, maybe then you can learn a bit more about the phone. BTW, Bonnie is my lovely bike, not me, it seems that you confuse yourself easily. Notice that you have close to 20000 post, I have to admit, that's impressive, any one of those are of interest? please let me know. i like to learn from you. PS: my apologies for my late answer to your post, but i was traveling a lot lately.

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