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andy rubin

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Essential decides a third of its staff isn't

Essential may be at work on making an AI-focused alternative smartphone that operates mainly on voice commands, but it'll have to do so with a significantly reduced staff. Essential has confirmed that it is laying off a large portion of its staff, which Bloomberg reports amounts to roughly 30 percent of the 120-person workforce — mainly in the hardware and sales divisions.

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Essential is reportedly working on an AI phone that operates through voice commands

While Essential's first device has a cult following among those who prioritize quick Android updates, it became clear in May that it would never see a follow-up. A report from Bloomberg revealed that the company had canceled a second Essential Phone and put itself up for sale. However, over the past several months, the company has quietly chugged along, continuing to push out lightning-fast security patches. Now, a new report from Bloomberg states that the company is indeed working on a second device — but it's not at all like its first product. According to the publication's tipsters, the handset is an anti-smartphone with a small screen that relies primarily on voice commands.

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[Update: More details from internal email] Essential reportedly cancels second phone, puts itself up for sale

According to Bloomberg, Essential, an up-and-coming phone manufacturer, is reportedly calling it quits, canceling its second phone and putting out a "For Sale" sign. The company, founded by Android's creator Andy Rubin, has supposedly hired an outside firm to advise it on a potential sale, with one suitor allegedly showing interest.

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It turns out that Essential was granted a patent for a no-notch screen with a popup camera in 2017

Many of you were probably wowed by the Vivo Apex, a concept phone with way too many futuristic things on board, at MWC 2018. The Apex has extraordinarily small bezels and an in-display fingerprint sensor, but arguably its most innovative feature is its popup front-facing camera that allows it to avoid the dreaded notch. Andy Rubin has revealed that a patent for this solution was granted to Essential Products, Inc in 2017.

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Essential has some new accessories available, including USB-C earbuds and a fast charger

To say it's been a bumpy ride for Essential would be an understatement. After the initial hype surrounding the company's first phone died down, reviews were lukewarm and strong sales failed to materialize. Considerable price drops have followed, and there's also been controversy surrounding founder Andy Rubin and alleged inappropriate behavior. That said, there are some positives for owners of the device, with Essential quick to deliver updates and make improvements.

The world's smallest 360-degree camera made the headlines as a launch accessory for the phone, but the company has just added a few more items to its online store.

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[Update: Back at work] Andy Rubin takes leave of absence from Essential in wake of Google misconduct allegation

According to The Verge and other publications, Andy Rubin has taken a leave of absence from his company, Essential. The news followed hours after The Information broke a story that Rubin was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate while he led the Android team at Google.

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Here are some highlights from today's AMA with Andy Rubin and the Essential team

AMAs on reddit are a good way for tech companies to communicate with fans and potential customers and answer any concerns they may have. Of course, not all of them go well, but if you're honest and respond to important questions, it's easy enough to do. Essential may have had a couple of screw-ups in the past, but at least it did its AMA right. Here are some responses we thought deserved a spot in this recap.

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Essential Phone is available now for pre-order from Essential, Sprint, and Best Buy

It's finally happening. Today marks the official, long-overdue launch of the Essential Phone PH-1 with Essential and Sprint making announcements that you can pre-order Andy Rubin's new device today.

Both Essential itself and Best Buy have the unlocked model for $699, and Sprint will be the exclusive carrier in the U.S. Both versions of the phone will work on all major U.S. carriers.

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Essential PH-1 shows up at Best Buy in unlocked and Sprint guises for $699.99 and $749.99, respectively

Andy Rubin's Essential hasn't had the greatest start, what with executives jumping ship and shipments being delayed so early on, but things may finally be looking up. The startup's flagship product, the PH-1 smartphone, has just hit Best Buy's website with listings for both the Sprint and unlocked models.

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Andy Rubin says Essential Phone will be available 'in a few weeks'

Smartphone startup Essential is headed by Android founder Andy Rubin, but that doesn't mean it's immune from delays. After promising to launch the Essential Phone in June, the company missed the deadline with nary a word. Rubin has now relayed a message to those who registered to buy the phone, informing them it'll just be a few more weeks.

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