A little more than two years ago, Andy Rubin officially left his position at Google after working there for years as the head of Android. Fast-forward to today and Rubin may soon be getting back into the smartphone game.
Andy Rubin will soon announce a new company called Essential, which is said to be working on several consumer hardware products that all tie together. Sources tell Bloomberg that this includes a smartphone, which is still in the prototype stage.
This new phone is said to be a high-end device with a large edge-to-edge display. The screen is said to be larger than 5.5 inches, but that it’ll have a smaller footprint than a device like the iPhone 7 Plus because of its slim bezels. Essential is also said to be considering making the screen pressure-sensitive.
The device will reportedly be made with high-end materials, and a design that’s currently in testing has metal edges and a ceramic back.
It’s also said that this device will be able to “gain new hardware features over time” and that Rubin’s team is working on a proprietary, magnetic connector that’ll serve double duty as a charger and a way to expand the phone’s features. Rubin and his team are reportedly prepping a camera add-on that’ll enable the phone to take 360-degree photographs, but third-parties will also be able to create add-ons for the device.
Essential is said to be aiming to launch its new smartphone in the middle of 2017 at a price of around $649. No release plans are set in stone quite yet, though, and it's unclear if the Essential phone's software will be based on Android.
One final detail is that Andy Rubin is said to have met with executives from mobile carriers at CES earlier this month, allegedly including some execs from Sprint. Having partnerships with carriers will be important for this device if Rubin wants it to succeed, as many folks in the US still buy their phones from their carriers.
Andy Rubin is often referred to as the father of Android, as he help found the company that was eventually sold to Google. He’s been out of the spotlight ever since leaving Google at the end of 2014, but it’d be a pretty big deal if he made a return to the smartphone market.
This smartphone that’s allegedly being cooked up by Essential sounds pretty interesting, packing high-end specs paired with a premium design. The ability to add hardware features could be a little iffy, as we haven’t seen any modular phones really catch on quite yet, but perhaps Rubin and Co. can nail it.
What do you think of this rumored device?