Newton Mail was a popular third-party alternative to Gmail, and even though the service had over 40,000 paying customers, it was shut down back in December. Interestingly, the app has continued to work since then, and we now know the reason why: Essential has acquired CloudMagic — the company behind Newton Mail — for an undisclosed fee, with the email service likely ending up as an exclusive offering on Essential's devices.

In a statement to TechCrunch, an Essential spokesperson said:

We are always on the lookout for companies with great technology and talent to help accelerate our product roadmap.

Essential itself isn't having a great year. The company reportedly shelved plans for a successor to the Essential Phone, and a report from October suggested the company laid off nearly 30% of its workforce. Founder Andy Rubin was said to be mulling an outright sale earlier this year, but that doesn't look to be the case anymore.

Rubin himself came under fire after a New York Times article revealed sexual impropriety during his time at Google, and while he denied those claims, the backlash led to Google introducing a new action plan to deal with harassment issues.

Essential is now said to be working on an AI-powered phone that you can control with voice commands, and while it's unclear where Newton Mail fits into that vision, it's possible Essential is leveraging CloudMagic tech to power its upcoming smart replies feature.