Andy Rubin's Essential launched its first phone in 2017, and it turns out that will be its only phone. After making some news last year with the bizarre Project GEM prototype, Essential has now announced that it won't be releasing that device or any other. Essential will shut down, effective immediately.
Essential posted the news on the company's official blog today, noting that the Essential Phone (PH-1) won't get any further updates. 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. While you won't get any future updates, the Essential Phone has already gotten more support than most devices. The company unveiled its GEM device last year, generating mild buzz for the company after a long absence from the limelight. However, that only attracted more attention to serious accusations of harassment against founder Andy Rubin.
Today's blog post didn't go into detail about the reason for the shutdown, simply saying that Essential had taken Project GEM as far as it could. Without any way to release a finished product, the company decided to throw in the towel. As one final parting gift, Essential has posted some demo videos of the GEM so we can see how this strange little phone would have worked.
Essential acquired email startup CloudMagic last year, which offers the Newton Mail service. Current Newton Mail users will have access to the service until April 30th, after which Newton Mail will shut down as well. There is still some hope for Essential Phone fans—the company will post a prebuilt vendor image and other tools to build software for the Essential phone on Github soon. You can probably look forward to some community-built updates for the phone, but it won't be the same as those speedy monthly OTAs.