Having co-founded Android Inc.in 2003 and leading the charge on the mobile operating system for almost a decade after Google bought the company for at least $50 million, Andy Rubin had a great deal of momentum when he left to chart his own course.
The Essential Phone was praised for its design, but reviews found faults with the camera, the display, and other features, and it was never popular enough to compete with flagship smartphones from other companies. Back in October 2019 Essential provided a glimpse of Project GEM, but that too is part of the announcement and it will be canceled as well.
"Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people's lifestyle needs", the company said in a statement.
"Given this, we have made the hard decision to cease operations and shut down Essential", the company said on their blog. Another device dubbed Project GEM was in the works, one with a freakish form factor that looked like nothing else on the market, but Essential says it has "no clear path to deliver it to customers". But aside from the product's narrow display, we're skeptical the product would have offered anything new to the consumer.
On Wednesday, February 12th, after having launched just a single retail product, Essential announced that it would be shutting down.
Rubin notes that the last software update for the Essential PH-1 shipped on February 3, with no more updates provided.
Essential will no longer be providing updates for the Essential Phone, and while it will continue to work, there will be no future software refreshes or customer support available. Newton Mail customers will have access to that service through April 2020 before it shuts off.
Andy Rubin's Essential launched its first phone in 2017, and it turns out that will be its only phone. Developers who want to keep working on the device can check Github, where prebuilt vendor images and "everything else needed to keep hacking on PH-1" will be hosted.