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Android co-founder’s smartphone company ‘Essential’ is shutting down

After leaving Google, Android co-founder, Andy Rubin, set out on a new venture, opting to build his own smartphone start-up called ‘Essential’. The company made headlines with its first release, the Essential Phone, and while a new smartphone project has been in the works since, the company appears to have fallen on hard times and will now be shutting down.

Essential initially had some hype behind it after unveiling its first smartphone three years ago, but the device was unable to shake-up the Android market's status quo. Aside from that a number controversies hindered the business, including a personal information leak and misconduct accusations against Andy Rubin.

After finishing up work on the Essential Phone, one of the first to feature an all-screen design with a smaller cutout for the camera, Essential focused on Project GEM. The idea with this device was to “invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people's lifestyle needs”. The phone was tall and skinny, with a UI based on quick-glance information cards instead of a traditional home screen.

Now, Essential says it has “taken Gem as far as we can” and have “no clear path to deliver it to consumers”. Due to this, Essential is ceasing operations and shutting down.

“As part of the company wind down, the security update for PH-1 released on February 3 is the last update from the Essential software team. Your PH-1 will continue to work but we will not be providing any additional updates or customer support. Current Newton Mail users will have access to the service through April 30, 2020.”

All is not lost though, as some of Essential's code base is being uploaded to Github, giving open source developers a chance to continue tinkering.

KitGuru Says: Essential certainly had bold ideas but without the resources to manufacture and release its new phone, there is not much more that can be done. Did any of you follow Essential since it formed? Did any of you happen to use the original Essential Phone?

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