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.
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.
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.
It turns out that the folding phone isn't the only weird form factor these days. Andy Rubin, the man behind Essential, just posted the first photos of the company's upcoming phone on Twitter. It's quite the departure from the PH-1, but if you like how tall Sony's 21:9 phones are, you're in for a real treat.
"Announce something," the Essential fan cried last September. "We'll make an announcement," the CEO responded in June. It's been difficult to follow a short, terse conversation spread over several months, much less the saga of what kind of product would follow Essential's first phone — a phone design was supposedly binned, a smart home hub has never been released, and all of this while the company itself was reportedly being considered for sale. Now, we finally have word from the company that it has taken action to get a second product to market.