When Essential shut down last month, the company gave us a look at the tall and skinny Gem phone that it had been working on prior to closing. Now a former Essential employee has showed off other designs that were cooking.
Kevin Hoffman worked at Essential as a Senior Industrial Designer from October 2017 through February 2020, and this week he shared designs of phones that he'd worked on previously. The blog post has since been locked, but 9to5Google managed to pull the images while they were still available.
First is the Essential PH-2 that you see at the top of this post. This device looks largely similar to the Essential PH-1, but it's got a rounded frame and matte back glass. The PH-2 would've also been IP68 water and dust resistant.
However, the PH-2 was killed by Andy Rubin in an early testing stage in favor of the Essential Home assistant device that was never released.
The Essential PH-3 is said to have been in the works as recently as early 2020. This model reportedly had a low build of material cost, suggesting that Essential may have been planning a more affordable price for this phone.
The PH-3 was expected to use an existing OLED screen, 2.5D glass on the front, and a bead-blasted machined aluminum body with a flat frame like the PH-1. A triple rear camera array was planned for the PH-3 along with a polished aluminum camera bump, and some images show that Essential may have been considering a couple different placements for the rear camera setup.
Essential was early on in the development of the PH-3 and ended up killing it alongside the Gem when it shut down earlier this month.
While the Essential Phone had a bit of a rocky launch because of its price tag, eventually Essential lowered the cost and the device started to catch on with consumers, especially as it regularly got software updates the same day as Google's Pixel phones. Essential's track record with updates definitely had some folks clamoring for a new Essential Phone with modern specs, and now we know that there were a couple follow-ups that just never saw the light of day.
What do you think of these leaked Essential Phone PH-2 and PH-3 models? Do you think you would've been interested in either if they'd actually been released to consumers?