Andy Rubin, co-founder and former CEO of both Danger Inc. and Android Inc., is planning to release his own premium, AI-focused smartphone with an edge-to-edge display “that lacks a surrounding bezel.”
He is planning his next best thing with a new consumer hardware company called Essential anchored around an original flagship smartphone. Essential currently has a team of around 40 people made of former of Apple and Alphabet employees. According to Bloomberg, the company aims to develop a suite of cutting-edge consumer electronics that would target mobile and smart home markets. So, is the smartphone they are currently working on a potential model that would ultimately outperform even its biggest competitors?
Well, it’s not far from that! In fact, the product family is focusing on the expected centerpiece, a premium smartphone intended to go nip and tuck on competitors like the Google’s Pixel, Apple iPhone and other flagship mobile phones. Shipping plans for the phone are pending, but Essential hesitantly hopes the phone will be launched later this year at a potential price of around $650, although the plans are still in flux. Simultaneously, some mobile phone experts claim that a smartphone with such top-of-the-line specs and features couldn’t cost less than $700. However, at the end of this year, we will find out what future holds.
The American computer programmer, engineer, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist registered Essential Products Inc. in California in November 2015. At the end of 2016, “Essential” was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, identifying smartphones, tablets, accessories and computer software for mobile OS as the main goods and services on offer. Developed by the new company, the platform provides a link between different devices.
Essential is currently working on a whole series of consumer devices intended for the smart home market. The brand is also testing the waters with a 3D touch-like feature that would allow its smartphone to detect different levels of pressure when users touch the screen. In other words, the core of the design is a high-end smartphone with a large screen from “end to end” with an emphasis on the artificial intelligence it represents. This top-notch device will also be carefully built with a combination of ceramic and titanium, so that it can survive a drop test — that should make it impervious to scratches (this is where we need to remind you that most competitor devices are made of aluminum).
According to sources, Rubin shared his idea of creating a smartphone at the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that was held January 5—8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. He talked with heads of network operators, including Sprint. Surely enough, at this time the company has at least one prototype of the future device with a convincing screen larger than 5.5 inches. As mentioned earlier, it is equipped with a ceramic back, but also with the company magnetic slot that allows not just for wireless charging but also for the addition of various types of accessories such as the spherical 360-degree camera which Essential engineers are rumored to have been working on. According to the rumors, this would be a tiny camera offering possibilities to be taken on and off the phone and automatically recognized by it as a built-in feature.
The smartphone and hardware families are possible starting points for brand new software and hardware technology. Modular add-ons like those found on the Project HYPERLINK “http://www.ibtimes.com/google-cancels-project-ara-modular-smartphone-may-possibly-license-technology-instead-2411122″Ara smartphone (since cancelled) are one of the many possibilities for Essential. Bloomberg developers are currently working on a connector that could connect to accessories like improved cameras. Technology like Apple’s Siri could also be a likely area for the company’s smart home development.
Rubin has been an active presence in the artificial intelligence field. His startup tech incubator, Playground Global (which is planed to raise $300 million), focuses on AI, robotics-based ventures, and augmented reality. Actually ever since leaving Google in 2014, Rubin has made a major focus on artificial intelligence alone. “In order for AI to blossom and fulfill consumer needs, it has to be about data,” he says. “That’s where robotics come in. Robots are walking mobile sensors, which can sense their environment and interact and learn from those interactions.”
Bloomberg’s report doesn’t mention any other specific products that Essential is currently developing (only that it’s working on “a suite” of products). Also, no word on what OS they’re using. Could it be an Android with customizations? For what it’s worth, 2017 is about to get really, really interesting.
Billie Jean Bateson is a fashionista and love fashion marketing. My career started in 2011 as an online marketing analyst, blogger & fashion expert @ Amazing Wristbands. In the mean time, I also love writing articles in various inspiring categories for popular websites, forums, and e-magazines.