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Essential Phone 2 reportedly canceled, Andy Rubin considering selling the company [Update]

Updated 6:51 PM — Following Bloomberg's report, Andy Rubin has since taken to Twitter with the following message: "We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits. We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products."

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Andry Rubin is considering selling his startup Essential and has canceled the launch of the 2nd-gen Essential Phone.

Per Bloomberg's report —

The startup has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on a potential sale and has received interest from at least one suitor, the people said. Essential is now actively shopping itself to potential suitors, one of the people said.

Playground Global, Rubin's incubator that was used to launch Essential, is said to have raised around $300 million from the likes of Amazon, Tencent Holdings Inc., and Redpoint Ventures. Of that $300 million, one-third of it ($100 million) was used just for developing Essential's first round of products. Considering we never saw more than renders of the Essential Home, it's safe to say that the majority of that $100 million was focused on the first Essential Phone and its 360-degree camera attachment.

As Bloomberg continues —

Current discussions are focused on a sale of the entire company, including its patent portfolio, hardware products like the original smartphone, an upcoming smart home device and a camera attachment for the phone, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Essential's engineering talent, which includes those hired from Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, would likely be part of a deal. The company hasn't yet made a final decision on a sale, the people said.

Essential has yet to comment on this report, and while a new buyer could come in and pick the company up out of this rut, there's no way of painting this as good news. It's unclear if Essential will continue to support the existing Essential Phone, but we'll be sure to let you know as these details come to light.

Only 88,000 units of the Essential Phone were supposedly sold in 2017

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • And this is why I didn't jump onto the Essential bandwagon. Solid phone but not much more than that... Early reviews didn't help, high launch price hurt even more, then the camera was about the final nail in the coffin.
  • Well considering they barely sold any units it was a very small bandwagon indeed.
  • Who in the right mind would buy this company? The extra/left over inventory will end up with companies on eBay or the grey market.
  • They wouldn't be bought for their inventory, they would be bought for their patents.
  • Which is what?
  • Well, who could've seen it coming?
  • This is absolutely no surprise to me. They did poorly, even with a phone that owners seemed to like after 10 updates. Although I was actually considering it this year as a second phone.
  • I'd really like to see Amazon take a second swipe at the Android phone market. They don't need to make anything fancy. Just do what Nokia is doing, and maybe make the Essential phone the high end device. Also, so much for any updates to the phone, which a shame for people who paid a lot of money for it. I considered it recently but bought a used Pixel instead, because I figured Essential was basically Nextbit, and what do you know? They are.
  • Just what I was thinking. This would be an excellent product for Amazon to develop, especially with them already being an investor. And funny you mentioned Nextbit as I came from a Robin before my Essential phone.
  • Also had a Robin, which I really liked, but got rid of when the company was sold and support ended.
  • Amazon insists on releasing hardware with their proprietary closed wall. It won't sell unless they're Apple, hence the catastrophic failure of the Fire phone.
  • As long as you can install the Play Store on it and they price good phones at reasonable prices, they'll do fine. Most people don't really want to pay stupid amounts of money for a phone. Right now, there aren't great alternatives. I think Amazon could change that. Not by overengineering useless stuff like they did with the Fire phone, but doing what they've done with the Kindles. Make decent stuff cheap.
  • FireOS is hot garbage.
  • This comment is cold garbage
  • I felt like the essential phone was a dud as soon as I heard about it. RIP essential phone...
  • Because its not a galaxy or iphone?
  • In America, that is actually fact.
  • Yeah unfortunately
  • Turns out their phones weren't essential at all
  • This comment is so mean! haha
  • Essentially mean! Lol
  • What a shocker I mean who would have guessed that a company that only sold 88,000 phones would want to sell.
  • I think they got up to 200K.
  • It would make a great Google phone
  • Shocker, it was lame duck phone..
  • Shame if it's true. Best Android phone I have owned, Samsung included.
  • I was about to sell mine to get a OnePlus 6 now I probably can't get sh*t for it.
  • Snap. Let's see how this pans out. Just picked up 2 of them... It will all depend on who buys them and what they buy. Hopefully continued development will still be there.
  • Whoever buys them won't be making any Essential phones. Patents could be valuable years later.
  • I said it then and I say it now: this was an Essentially bad phone that only got the hype it got because tech bloggers kept gushing over the fact that Andy Rubin was a part of it, as if Rubin had ever EVER delivered a great piece of hardware.
    No one else cared.
    The phone lacked all the essentials.
    And so it's dead. The flop of the Essential phone was foreseeable miles away. And so is the inevitable sale/shutting down of the entire venture.
  • You are a complete idiot and are being over dramatic. People like you are the problem, and why these companies fail. The phone is amazing, and it gets updates before any other phone out there. Anyone that has actually held the phone and used it know this. Go back to your galaxy
  • Agreed. Love my Essential way more than my X or GS9. Still do.
  • All power to you that you love the Essential phone over the X or GS9. I am sure there are people out there that love their Prius over a Lexus or Mercedes as well.
  • Crappy products and crappy service created by dolts who don't know what they are doing is the reason why these companies fail. Some people will line up to buy just about anything but the rest of the world likes to wait and see. In the case of the Essential phone most people waited and saw what a failure the Essential Phone turned out to be. How you can call someone an idiot and blame them for Essential's failure is beyond comprehension.
  • These companies fail because morons like you LIE to them and make excuses for their crap products.
    And that's what the "Essential" was. A CRAP product. It gets fast updates? Guess what? NOBODY CARES. People want their phones to be reliable, have good cameras and good features. They do NOT care if the phone gets monthly placebo updates or not.
    And that's why phones like the Essential fail. They only offer things no one cares about and skip on things people care. So stop trying to justify to yourself your stupid decision when you bought a crappy phone. It won't change the fact that it's a bad product.
  • People that roam the forums do care about updates regardless of which brand they own.
  • Haha, your opinion is valid because everyone is entitled to have one but as for me, I know the Essential is a very good phone and far from crappy. It may have started bad but I didn't pick one up until recently and it has been a pleasant surprise. So much so it took the role of primary phone ahead of my X and GS9 and really helped me see that phones from companies such as Essential and OnePlus, and a couple of others are really where it's at now for tech and phone enthusiasts such as most of us on these sites and the Apple and Samsung's of this world really aren't anymore.
  • I so totally agree with your comment!
  • Nokia and Android One has essentially made these companies DOA...I have the Nokia 6.1 and will eventually buy my wife a 7 plus or 8 scirroco when her Pixel 1 is toast.
  • It's amusing in the sense that OnePlus didn't sell that well when it came out but they kept at it and it paid off. It seems American investors are not willing to lose money at first to eventually make something. At least not in this space. Sad really.
  • No OnePlus knew their target audience and catered to them well. Essential went for the flagship price market but failed to deliver in terms of software and overall experience/camera. But later when they reduced the price it was too late since there was too much bad press about initial release.
    But they should have at least given a shot with PH-2.
  • But the first OnePlus was a moderate success.
  • I knew essential would be a big fail from day one.
  • Wow bro! You called it!
  • I know bro! I did!
  • Bro, tell us what else you see in the future!
  • I have one and actually love it. I will use it now as long as possible. Doesn't bother me now. Will if I stop getting rapid updates like I have been. Still has a ton of life left.
  • Same with me. I hope I can pick up a few more at a steep discount. Great phone.
  • Agreed.
  • Ah, Andy say it ain't so, fire sale. Never ever buy a first year product of anything. Actually I liked the phone but the camera kinda sucked. At least 12 updates to the camera. I was expecting more out of the Father of Android. Yikes!
  • The fact that it had crappy cameras just turned me off completely. It was non-essential from the get-go. This should come as no surprise to anyone.
  • It does not have a crappy camera, unless you buy into the Consumer Reports biased reporting methods.
  • and if you believe most of the user reviews for people who actually bought the phone. A crappy camera is one that can't compete with flagship devices but start out with a flagship price. And why the heck did they think a modular 360degree camera would be an accessory the market would get excited about? That was just a gimmick and a waste of time and energy.
  • Consumer Reports are a JOKE.
  • The camera was not good. At all.
  • I don't feel bad for them. They put a disgusting notch on a screen and removed a headphone jack. Now everyone else that does this needs to shut down as well.
  • So everyone except Samsung... So much for conpetition and choice...
  • And HTC, Sony and Motorola. That's three companies at least. Not that bad. With Samsung that's 4.
    And if that abortion that is the 6X never leaves China, HMD.
  • The notch Inst bad. It's not for everybody but it's not bad. As for the lack of a headphone jack get tf over it. We're at a stage where its getting pathetic to complain about that.
  • How can they remove the headphone jack when it's their first device? They didn't remove it, they just never included it.
  • Love my essential phone! Anybody who truly cares about mobile tech should be disappointed by this but all i see here are a bunch of sad sacks.
  • Thank you! I agree. Love the phone.
  • Disappointed why? Now if there was just sumsung and iPhone then yea.
    But android has LG
    I could go one the Android market is flooded with different cell phone manufacturers all over the world
    Honest question how did this hurt or why should I feel disappointed for mobile tech for one cell phone company going out of business on Android side?
  • I'm disappointed because I'm an Android enthusiast who's had phones from a lot of those companies you list and I'd take this phone over all of them. I'll never buy a Samsung because the software and bloat will end up driving me up a wall. LG is awful at updating their phones. I guess I'll just get a pixel but man it would be nice to not have to pay that Google premium.
  • Essential Phones aren't any cheaper
  • You'll never buy another Essential phone. You should have gotten a Pixel from the get-go.
  • You forgot to include Google in the list of Android OEMs with the Pixel phones but I'm not disappointed that the Essential phone failed, it was a wannabe Pixel phone with a terrible camera and poor software and the high price at launch definitely hurt it's chances of success. What's all the more embarrassing is that Essential was headed by the father of Android, Andy Rubin.
  • According to you with your other replies I've seen, all that matters to you is Pixel. Pixel phone, the rumored pixel watch, etc etc. You're ignorant
  • Newsflash: your precious iPixels are also a commercial flop.
    Google won't even talk about them.
    So...yeah. The Essential wanted to copy a flop? Well, in that case they achieved that at least.
  • Google doesn't need the Pixel to be a massive success. Sounds crazy, but with a company as diverse as Google / Alphabet, they can afford to not rely on Pixel sales alone to keep them afloat. It's also the phone they target to Android developers and that also factors into things. Essential didn't have that luxury - the PH-1 was pretty much their only product (plus accessories). The overall failure of this phone affected them far more than Google only selling a few million Pixels (no idea how many). It's sad, because if they had launched with the camera updates they've made since, and with the same $500 price they dropped it to, it probably would have done better. As it was, outside of build quality, there wasn't much about the Essential phone on launch that justified its asking price. Not striking deals with more carriers didn't help either.
  • Actually lcompare to the Nexus line, the Pixel phones have been a success, so what if they haven't sold as much as a Samsung or Apple which are both overrated, the point is the Pixel phones are doing ok, (they've been more successful than the Essential phone which is an essay flop so not surprised that Andy is selling up) the fact is people know about the Pixel phones.
  • Pixels are just not a commercial flop.
    They have built a strong and passionate fan base and their prime objective of showing Google products how Google wants you to see them has been met.
    With the likes of Nokia, Oneplus and others dialing back on the UI's I think Google can claim they are proving to be successful.
  • My point exactly. People like DJCBS who are just Samsung knights are just ignorant of the Pixel brand and don't understand it
  • I love my Essential phone too. I was very much looking forward to the 2nd edition. I was going to buy it launch day and give my wife my 1st gen. Now what? I'm still going to buy her an Essential phone.
  • That would be throwing good money after bad unless they will guarantee updates...but I would assume it wouldn't be for more than maybe the end of this year or next.
  • How would it be throwing good money after bad? I would say buying a barely supported Galaxy phone would be the perfect description of that.
  • Yup, that's why i loved this phone. Fast updates and a near stock experience. I guess if you want that now you better just get a pixel and call it a day.
  • OnePlus seems like a good option too. I picked up a OnePlus6 to use alongside my Essential and it's pretty awesome.
  • OnePlus phones are far better quality than Essential Phone. That is not even a contest imo.
  • I disagree. I have a OP6 sitting right next to an Essential PH-1 and the Essential feels just as premium if not more premium than the OP6.
  • Why? You'd be throwing money into the fire at this point. Purchasing an Essential device from this point forward will do nothing to help the company.
  • Totally agree, this is a very fast phone that lets you actually use it the way you want. The list that Kitwalz gave has all bloated launchers and tons of unremovable software on them, no thanks.
  • Hmm surprising they are giving up so fast. Essential phone was junk when it launched, later with price drop and software updates it became a good phone for the price. Was hoping they would have taken the learning and gave it a shot with PH-2.
  • Come on man! Yeah your first phone wasn't perfect, but selling the company? Crap. It's a good idea, and it should be made better.
  • This is what will happen to Red Hydrogen phones of some sort!
  • That phone will be a total niche device based on price alone.
  • Well, for all those who are not surprised about this, I say, do not be surprised when you ***** about your lack of updates, overpriced, underperforming and bloated phones. This sucks because it is the best phone on the market, bar none. Finally find a keeper and the Consumer Reports mentality that most folks have kills it off. Oh boy, Galaxy S9, Consumer Reports says it is the best, must buy.
  • The Galaxy S9 is a good phone but the Pixel 2 XL is the best phone IMO, it has the best version of Android and the perks of fast updates while the Essential phone was just a poor man's Pixel at best with a much worse camera.
  • Call me crazy but if the camera on the Essential phone wasn't crap, why all the subsequent updates?
  • you are crazy.
  • The S9 doesn't need Consumer Reports to say it's the best phone. The phone simply is. And this Essential crap without the essentials never stood a chance against Sony's Xperias or HTC's U line, let alone Galaxies. Wake up, mate.
  • The Galaxy S9 is a good phone let down but the Samsung bloat. Which is why I'll never buy their phones. I'm only interested in the Pixel yeah I know you think they're rubbish but they're really not, they've great phones, the best IMO and the best overall and you know that AC has pretty much said it in their "Best Android phones in 2018" list recently.
  • HTC will be out of the phone business in the next year. I'd be shocked if Sony goes on much longer than that. They're both hemorrhaging money. (And I really like Sony phones.)
  • Best phone on the market bar none?
  • You sound triggered. All reviewers (not just Consumer Reports) have said the cameras were terrible. Nobody wants to pay flagship phone prices for a phone with crappy cameras.
  • I want to pick one of these up, but I've been reading reports on XDA about poor signal when using t-mobile. This is unfortunate, as the phone is just what I want in a phone. It has a pretty large screen but it's smaller in some dimensions than a S6. I may still pick one up, and use it anyway. I have wifi 99% of the time, so signal isn't as big of an issue.
  • I use it on T-Mobile and I've heard that as well though I personally haven't had any issues.
  • I would have bought one of it didn't have a notch.
  • Jesus you people are honestly the worst
  • STFU with your whining about the extremely minimal notch on this phone. It's a 5.7in screen in the body of a 5.2. so yea, I'll take the notch any day
  • First notched casualty. Hopefully many more. I hope every company that copies the notch suffers financially for the decision.
  • Hoping people go out of business... You're a real peach
  • Amen.
    If they want to copy sh*tty designs, they should get what they deserve.
  • Who did they copy?
  • Lol.
  • I loved everything about the Essential phone except the camera. I was hoping for a round 2....bummed
  • Hardly used the camera and what it does is ok with me, been playing around with the 360 camera and really like what it can do. I was in no rush for the PH-2 as 1 was doing a good job. Hopefully the updates continue, but on the plus side, another ROM can be installed on it.
  • Well, this doesn't surprise me, but I was hoping to see a sophomore effort with an Essential phone 2, after a first year learning curve.
  • I'm using one now and I love it. When Sprint offered to lease it to me at $6/mo and gave me a $10/mo loyalty discount, I thought what the heck, I'm making $4 a month, I'll try it. I was extremely pleased. Bummer news. A 2d Gen would probably be very good, considering all the lessons learned.
  • God Fukding damnit! Thank you to all of you who look at nothing besides Samsung galaxies. Essential phone was damn near perfect and this is a real shame.
  • apparently "dam near perfect" wasn't a good selling point especially with a craptastic camera. But at least it had a great design. rip
  • "near perfect"
    Ahahahahahahahahahah you must be smoking something really strong
  • What isn't near perfect about it?
  • It's waterproofing is no good. Also the 3,5 mm headphone Jack no good. Wireless Charging also not working very well I heard.
  • Think it's perfect for them not everyone.
  • This is awful news. I had been looking forward to the launch of the Essential 2. Hopefully Essential can turn things around - if not as "Essential," then as a new brand with Essential-like designs and features - because the phone and company had tremendous potential.
  • Damn shame... Was looking forward to their sophomore effort.
  • Shame. Coulda been great to have another solid US company besides apple and google. Been reading how a variety of employees have been like, feets don't fail me now!! The device had potential but I think andy rubin's hubris got in the way of helping steer the company right. Also, No wireless charging, IP68 or headphone jack were feature non-starters for me personally, and when I read about all the camera woes I felt vindicated.
  • Would never buy it, but now that Essential is on hospice, I may run over to Best Buy, just to hold a ceramic phone before they're gone forever.
  • You can hold Nokia 7 plus. Ceramic Coating and it feels so niccceeeeeeeeee. Inside also niccceeeeeeeeee , Software gets 3 years Updates, every month.
  • Wow. Andy Rubin's Twitter response did nothing to counter the story that the company is up for sale. He pretty much confirmed that he's abandoning the Essential Phone and the company.
  • Damn!
  • Basically they lost a crapton of money making a product that wouldn't sell because it was always going to clearly be inferior to many others, just like everyone told them so.
  • I don't think the Pixel phones helped their cause.
    Doing much the same thing with a bigger budget and their own software.
  • In a few years choices will be Samsung or Apple. I'll go to Apple.
  • Keep dreaming
  • I genuinely think the Google Pixel will be hard for Android users to ignore in a few years. Samsung has the disadvantage of not owning the Android software. I'm anticipating the day where that really begins to show.
  • Hardly anyone cares for stock Android. Only the few that read these forums. If Google packed the pixel with all the latest tech like Samsung does it would be a lot better off. Samsung just offers way more for your money. I'm not going to buy something for the same cost and loose features I'm used to like expandable storage, headphone jack, MST/NFC for mobile payments, fast wireless charging, DEX pad and many other features no one else offers.
  • You may not care for Stock Android but I do, I care for fast updates direct from Google and having the best Android experience which it does, I don't need or care about expandable memory, wireless charging which has zero benefit so spear me the claptrap about wireless charging being useful. Only the Pixel offers fast updates and security patches on a consistent basis and only the Pixel offers that and are its major selling points and Bixby is no match for Google Assistant. Have fun with your slower gimmick laden fragile phone which won't get Android P until later next year while I'll be enjoying Android P long since.
  • Hardware is still Samsung's game and that's why I think it will take a few years. Google is an infant in the hardware business but they don't look like slowing down. Headphones jacks won't matter by then.
  • I pray for that day when the Google Pixel knocks Samsung and their abomination of Android off their f**cking perch. That's how much I hate Samsung's dominance.
  • Hate them all you want pal, nobody is going to 'knock Samsung off their perch'! You're part of the problem, you buy into this junk and others like this. Is it because your inferiority complex needs justification? Bet you drive a Fiat, don't you?
  • The Pixel isn't junk, it's the best phone overall with the best Android experience along with the best camera and Android Central agree having voted it best Android software phone in 2018 the S9 is a great phone but I just can't stand Samsung's software and the Pixel will knock Samsung off their f**cling perch in a few years as both Samsung and Apple are horrible companies and will never have my business.
  • What problem us that? That everyone doesn't agree with your point of view? That they don't buy what everyone else does? Maybe, and I'm just spitballing here, not everyone has the same needs or tastes, hence why one product isn't perfect for everyone. I know, crazy right?
  • What do you mean in a few years? Those are the best choices right now, along with Pixel and OnePlus phones, in my experience and usage. I wouldn't choose anything else.
  • I think they mean all other players will have exited the phone space.
  • Not gonna happen, they'll be other players besides Samsung and eww Apple like the Pixel, Nokia, OnePlus, etc Android together will always be ahead of overrated, overpriced, locked down and inferior Apple.
  • If you look at world wide sales there are plenty of other manufacturers doing ok.
  • I am sure there is a desert someplace in New Mexico they can bury the rest of their inventory in.
  • Crud. Unless the situation improves, we now only have one choice for timely updates.
  • So..... My question is..... For the owners of Essential ph-1, does the recent change mean no more updates etc?
  • Plot twist. ZTE to buy Essential to get back in the game and avoid the ban 😂
  • Everyone else still wants to buy this phone? I still do too experience it. It seems like the only thing bad was the camera.
  • Junk from the beginning, a blind following of people who had absolutely NO CLUE what makes a worthy smartphone! Keep thinking a device with Apple features (like no expandable memory or headphone jack) is going to survive, and you'll just end up with a $500 paperweight. People who bought into this phone are the same people who bought a Daewoo car or K-Mart stock. Hey, you can't fix stupid, so companies like this can make a few bucks anyway before they go under. I'm thankful I won't have to hear about this garbage anymore! Bye bye. Now, for anyone who KNOWS what makes a REAL smartphone, there's this company called Samsung...
  • The Pixel is a real smartphone as well as Samsung and spare the the claptrap about "features" or gimmicks more like. Wireless charging isn't essential and neither is expandable memory unless your keeping your whole life on your phone and 128GB will more than suffice and with unlimited Google storage for photos and videos and the most up to date and best Android experience plus the perks of having fast updates and stock Android, the Pixel 2 XL has all I'll ever need and I don't need anything else.
  • Expandable storage is very essential to me especially as a Soldier. When deployed overseas with no access to a network for cloud storage a 256GB micro SD card is like gold to us. And wireless charging is very useful. My daughter broke her charging port somehow and we were still able to charge her phone thanks to wireless charging while the replacement was on it's way. Headphone jack is a must also. Bluetooth headphones die and I just plug them in. Without any of this the pixel will always be a failure like it is now. I can give a rats ass about what Android letter or security date is on my device if it doesn't have the latest tech.
  • The Pixel is a success, a phone's success is more than just sales numbers the Pixel isn't Google's bottom line and what's important is there is choice, you can have your prehistoric headphone jack and worthless features like wireless charging along with all the other Samsung gimmicks that will make your S9 lag and Bixby is crap against Google Assistant and I care more about software experience and updates more than hardware and the year old Snapdragon 835 is still a very good SOC and with it powering the Pixel 2 XL it'll still beat your laggy S9 in speed.
  • beno...what you smoking man?
  • ZOMBBIE...right on. I love how many people 'think' they know what makes a phone. How many has Samsung cancelled? Um...that's right...none. Well the Note 7, but not the Note SERIES.
  • So every person that owns a Samsung device knows what makes a real smartphone? Seriously? So everyone who eats at McDonald's must be a food connoisseur. Just because a company sells the most doesn't mean they've got the highest quality product. Many times it's the reverse.
  • And why does Samsung sell the most? Simple economics man...more features, better quality, best screen, things that people WANT. Boom! Follow the money. But I get it...not everyone can afford the best, so phones like the Essential (which is anything BUT), Pixel and Nexus fill the void. Less features, lower quality, stupid gimmicks like 'native Android' and 'faster (less stable) updates' equals lower cost, so poor people can have a cell phone too.
  • Even now I would take an Essential phone over a Samsung "J" series.
    Some of the best phones I've owned have been Samsung.
    Also some of the worst.
  • I had an essential phone and returned it 2 days ago . I Liked the form factor and the speed , the camera was as good as my gs6 but I returned the phone due to connection issue with tmobile . I picked up the OnePlus 6 and received it today . I like it so far
  • He should have continue with the second phone and used the lessons learned from the first phone. It was a solid phone. a lot of users will not purchase the first phone from a new company not knowing how long it would be supported. Even amazon did not make a profit for its first 15 years of life.
  • Palm Pre - check
    Lumia windows - check
    Nextbit Robin - check
    Essential PH-1....check
    I'm on a run !!
  • Please stay clear of the Google Pixel. Thank you.
  • Wow it's over before it even started .
  • Bummer! The Essential seemed like an excellent phone. If the upcoming Pixel has a notch, hopefully it's similar to the Essential rather than iPhone X-like.