Andy Rubins smartphone startup Essential, is finally dead. Essential announced in a blog post today that it is closing its doors, stating that the company “made the difficult decision to shut down and shut down Essential” because “it has no clear way to deliver its latest smartphone to customers” .
Andy Rubin’s next company was essential after his previous appearance on Google, where he led the development of Android and made the operating system the most popular operating system in the world from scratch. Being “the father of Android” meant that venture capital firms would throw money on him if he left Google to start a new business. This company was essential where Andy Rubin jumped full time in smartphone hardware. The company was worth $ 1.2 billion before it even sold a single product.
Essential launched a single smartphone in 2017, the Essential Phone, along with two modular accessories: a 360-degree camera for $ 200 and a plug-in headphone jack for $ 150 (yes, really). Since then, the company has just hung around and canceled products under development. In the “Selling things for money” category, it did very little. Essential intended to sell a charging station for the Essential Phone, but this product was never released. In addition to the phone, the company announced a smart display called “Essential Home” and a new smart operating system called “Ambient OS”, but neither the hardware nor the software was ever made.
The company canceled an uncomplicated continuation of the Essential Phone in 2018. Until 2019 it was teasing “Project Gem” – a super thin smartphone with the form factor of a TV remote control that apparently was not compatible with most smartphone apps on the market. With today’s announcement, the Gem phone is dead.
Between product cancellations, Essential was an uninterrupted catastrophe of poor PR. The Essential Phone was delayed from the original launch date, and when it was finally time to accept payments and ship the phone, the company botched the launch. Essential sent a bizarre payment processing email to some customers asking them to email their photo IDs. This personal data was then accidentally forwarded to several people other Customers who bought Essential Phones. The move was one of the worst first impressions of all time, and Rubin called the mistake “humiliating” a blog post.
It is difficult to stay in business if you don’t publish products. Two months after the launch of the Essential Phone, Andy Rubin said goodbye to Essential for “personal reasons” and at the same time the first reports of sexual misconduct from his time at Google appeared in the press. By 2018, further alleged details were revealed in a New York Times synopsis, after which Google HR concluded that the allegations of wrongdoing were “credible” and that the incident resulted in Rubin’s resignation from Google and the creation of Essential. The Times announced that Rubin was paid more than $ 200 million to leave Google, which caused outrage and widespread protests on Google.
Essential was also in the press all the time about how bad the Essential Phone was selling and how the company was going down the drain. Fire sales for the Essential Phone started quickly, and the $ 700 device dropped to $ 500 just two months after launch. The phone was a month later up to $ 400, and finally the device dropped to $ 224. The failing company was until May 2018 offer for sale, but couldn’t find a buyer. In October 2018, the company had to fire 30 percent of its employees. The company landed on our deathwatch list in 2019.
In his final blog post, Essential explained the remains of the Gem phone project and showed some functions of the now dead smartphone. Just like the previous test, there are some built-in apps that look like they’ll work on the super-thin display, but it’s unclear how the phone would work with any kind of app ecosystem.
Newton Mail, an email app that Essential bought a year ago, will shutdown on April 30th. The February security update of the Essential Phone is the last operating system update that the device receives from Essential, although the company was kind enough to do so Leave some code open on GitHub for the Android hacking community to create more updates.
Listing image from Brian Ach / Getty Images for Wired