Essential, a company founded by Andy Rubin with an aim to create easy-to-use devices tailored for the most important needs, this week announced its cease of operations.

Andy Rubin, the man who headed creation of Google’s Android operating system, founded Essential back in 2015. It took the company two years to develop and build its first Essential PH-1 smartphone that came in a titanium body with a ceramic back, featured a minimalistic iPhone 5-like design, had a large edge-to-edge display with a raindrop camera for selfies, and ran ‘pure’ Android without any fancy UI. The handset looked rather innovative in 2017, but all of its main features (except expensive materials) appeared months later on cheaper or more popular devices, so the product lost a substantial part of its appeal. As a consequence, sales of the PH-1 were negligible.

After the company launched its first handset, it promised to release more hardware and software products, including a smart home assistant, a variety of accessories for the PH-1, and even its own operating system. Eventually, only a 360-degree camera, and a 3.5-mm audio jack adapter emerged on the market.

Back in October, the company introduced its Project Gem mobile experience, which involved a small smartphone with basic functionality, which was supposed to turn the company around, or at least attract new investors. Apparently, Essential does not have ‘a path’ to finish development of Gem, which is why (at least officially) it has to close its doors. (This means they had 'no avenue to deliver the product to consumers'.)

The statement from the company reads as follows:

“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.”

Essential will cease offering updated Android OS to its PH-1 customers starting immediately and its February 3 security update is the last one for the PH-1 to be released by the company. Also, Essential will shut down Newton Mail service on April 30, 2020. Fans of the device who know how to build software, will be able to get prebuilt of the PH-1 vendor image and everything else needed to keep hacking the smartphone on Essential’s github.

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Sources: Essential

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  • AdhesiveTeflon - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    As said person is posting from their computer or smart phone.

    Learn to earn to keep complaining.
  • peevee - Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - link

    "Yes, he is an equally dangerous threat to US democracy as Hitler was to German democracy. "

    You are insane.
  • Ozannnavchik - Friday, May 28, 2021 - link

    Interesting comparison of Trump to Hitler) Are you really interested in politics? I recommend that you watch videos about the conspiracy theory of Adolf Hitler or read about it so that you better understand the biography of this person.
  • surt - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    That's the spirit. Successful people are well known for retiring the first time they run into trouble.
  • lazarpandar - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    Hey I mean if it's for sexual abuse of other people, that should be the case. It's really sad that it's not.
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 14, 2020 - link

    Agreed entirely. Nobody should be prepared to work with Rubin, especially given that he hasn't been "successful" for a number of years now.
  • Operandi - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    No they don't, indecently neither do people who pretend to be successful.
  • shabby - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    Would you hire Kevin spacey for a teen movie? Don't think so.
  • SigmundEXactos - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    Not surprising since they had 1 phone in however many years.
    Sad though -- my wife and I both use the Essential phone and it's been great -- updated to Android 9 then Android 10 pretty much on day 1, and monthly security updates. Never had that with any other phone. Support lasted longer than the Nexus or HTC phones I've had previously.
    And our phones only cost ~$250 each new on sale! Which is also probably why they're bankrupt now.
  • peevee - Thursday, February 13, 2020 - link

    It started on 7. Then 8beta with some delay (apparently the large internal changes enabling future fast upgrades were a lot of work), then straight to 8.1, and 9 and 10 like clockwork, faster than some pixels. Nobody but Pixels did anything similar, and not even pixels upgrade 3 versions in the future.

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