After launching one of the most hyped Android phones in recent years, Essential came to a sad end in the wake of the Andy Rubin controversy. The company still has a cult following and many are still using the Essential PH-1 despite the fact that it's no longer being supported. Those users will be excited to learn that a bunch of former employees are now part of a new company called OSOM Products, founded by Essential's head of R&D Jason Keats.
LineageOS is the most-used custom Android ROM around, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for others. Paranoid Android was a popular choice back in the KitKat days, and while the ROM returned in full force with Nougat builds in 2017, there hasn't been much news since. Now the project is back (again), touting Android 10 builds for nine phones so far.
LineageOS 17.1 is the latest release of the popular custom ROM, based on Android 10. The LineageOS project was already providing daily builds for over 60 phones and tablets, but in the time since we last covered the ROM, a handful of additional phones have been granted official support.
The Newton Mail journey has been something of a rollercoaster ride. The innovative mail client had something of a cult following which it clearly wasn't able to convert into profit so its developers announced that it would shut down back in 2018 right after an unpopular price hike. It was then revived by Andy Rubin's Essential in 2019, but we all know how that worked out. Just when we thought it might have been gone for good, Newton Mail has now been acquired by a couple of users who couldn't bear to see it die.
Earlier this year, the Andy Rubin-led smartphone startup Essential closed its doors. The company only ever released one product, the PH-1 Android phone, but it had plenty of canceled endeavors. We already knew about the 'Project GEM' phone-like prototype, but it seems Essential was also working on two more regular phones.
Seeing no clear path to bring its weird GEM concept phone to market, Andy Rubin's Essential abruptly stopped being a company earlier this week. Now, by complete coincidence, a bundle of Essential swag has appeared for sale on eBay — including an unreleased charging dock.
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 is in a strange place right now as a company. Its latest phone is still its first model, the 2017 PH-1, with no direct replacement in sight. Still, Essential is keeping its remaining users happy, as it has once again rolled out monthly security patches at the same time as Google's Pixel phones receive the OTA.
Yesterday, I posted (and shared via Android Police's official Twitter account) that Android Police will no longer be accepting any access from Andy Rubin's startup Essential. That means no more press conferences, briefings, embargoes, or review devices. This came in light of Rubin's announcement of the company's new phone, apparently called GEM.
In the time between the announcement of the PH-1 over two years ago and yesterday's tease of GEM, a significant story about Rubin was published: The New York Times reported he was paid $90 million to leave Google in connection with a serious and, according to Google's own internal investigation, "credible" allegation that he coerced another Google employee into having sexual relations with him.