Andy Rubin's Essential Shutting Down, Newton Mail Service Ending Too


Essential first tried to created a Android smartphone with PH-1.

The startup, founded by Android creator Andy Rubin (who had left Google after accusations of sexual misconduct detailed in The New York Times), hoped to take on established companies with a more sustainable option that used modular add-ons to change functionality over years - but reception for the Essential Phone was lukewarm at best. Sales never reached expectations and the company survived several rounds of layoffs, but never brought a follow-up product to market. In October, they announced Project GEM which was a weird concept phone that looked like a remote with a screen. Supposedly, GEM was a device that would function mostly by voice assistant, which seems like the kind of idea that makes it halfway out of the lab before someone comes to their senses and kills it.

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"Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people's lifestyle needs". Another device dubbed Project GEM was in the works, one with a freakish form factor that looked like nothing else on the market, but Essential says it has "no clear path to deliver it to customers".

"Given this, we have made the hard decision to cease operations and shut down Essential", the company said on their blog. All throughout the phone's life, its updates remained in lock-step with the Pixels, but the February update from last week will be the final one for the PH-1. Rubin was reportedly paid $90M to leave Google after an investigation upheld a sexual assault complaint filed against him.

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However, we have been waiting for a new phone from the company for a long time now.

However, the company has shared its software on coding site Github so developers can "keep hacking" the device. The company said current Newton Mail users will have access to the service until April 30, 2020. Essential past year acquired the CloudMagic team and its cross-platform Newton Mail app, which is also affected by the shuttering of the company.

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