Essential may have canceled development of the Essential Phone 2, but according to a new report, that doesn't mean that we won't ever see a new smartphone from Essential.
Essential is reportedly working on a new phone with a major focus on AI. The device is said to have the AI respond to emails and text messages and also book appointments on its own, says Bloomberg. Also included is a small screen, which is a push to get users to interact with the phone mainly with their voice.
It's said that Essential hopes to have a prototype of its AI-focused phone finished by the end of 2018 and that the company could show off its device to industry partners at CES 2019 in January.
The original Essential Phone made waves when it was first announced thanks to its slim bezels and the fact that it was a new product from Andy Rubin, the father of Android. However, the device didn't sell well, likely due to factors like its price, the fact that it was only available unlocked or through Sprint, and complaints about its camera performance. Now it sounds like Rubin and Essential are trying to use AI to make a new phone stand out. AI and digital assistants are trendy features in mobile right now, but given that Essential is still a new company, it may need to strike better partnership deals if it wants to give its new device a better shot at success.
Today's report also mentions that Essential has "paused development" of its smart speaker device. Called Essential Home, the product was support to have an assistant that could answer questions and control smart home devices, and it was supposed to offer support for Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google Assistant. However, we never really heard much about the device after its initial announcement, and now it looks like maybe we never will.