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Andy Rubin's Essential is shutting down

The Essential Phone
The Essential Phone (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Essential, the company behind the Essential phone is shutting down.
  • The firm says that it had "no clear path" to deliver its next handset to consumers.
  • The firm had previously teased the Essential Phone 2, an exceptionally tall and skinny phone as "Project Gem."

Essential, the company founded by one-time Android creator Andy Rubin, is now closing its doors for good. The firm had debuted the interesting Essential phone and had planned to create a wildly thin and tall device as a sequel to that. That's no longer happening.

From Essential's blog post announcing the move:

In October, we introduced Project GEM, a new mobile experience that our hardware, software and cloud teams have been building and testing for the past few years. Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people's lifestyle needs. Despite our best efforts, we've now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.

The Essential phone was always an odd one. It held a lot of promise, but it never really caught on, that was its major failing. The phone was sold with a lot of potential that could only be actualized if it had mass appeal. As a result of that lack of mass appeal, the first Essential phone sent a majority of its lifespan being 99% done but never really complete. Things like the camera and software, table stakes for smartphone makers, were heavily criticized post-launch.

As flagship makers of mainstream smartphones (often backed by multi-billion dollar companies or whole nation-states) innovated and came out with more and more intriguing designs aimed at every price-point, Essential never really had a chance.

Essential Phone review: One (big) step away from the flagship competition

7 Comments
  • Too bad!! I really like Andy and hope he finds another project.
  • Shocking. Ha chachacha cha.
  • So does this mean no more same day updates for Essential Phone owners?
  • Yeah. The February security patch was the last update.
  • Should definitely mention that there will be no more support, no more updates for any of their products, and their Newton Mail is dead in April. I got the Essential phone during the Amazon fire sale as a backup. Great build quality and would have been interested to see them update everything with a second launch. It'll be a solid backup device for a little while longer.
  • Who? Soo much for product awareness...
  • Ugh... Loved my Essential. Still hoping that someone steps forward to finance the Project Gem. But I don't really want something that sound like a companion device. I was really hoping for a PH-2...