Android, the major open-source OS of choice for any mobile device that is not made by Apple, may have become as ubiquitous as it is now thanks to its main contributor and commercial marketer Google; but many who are in the know of Android’s history would agree that one man had the most influence in how the MOS came to be: Andy Rubin, co-founder and CEO of the startup that created Android and was acquired by Google in 2005. Since leaving Google in 2014 Rubin has been busy incubating other startups like Essential Products, which released its first Android smartphone in 2017. This week, he began teasing a new device.
Cnet has it that a new, unusually slim smartphone from Essential Products was teased on social media by Andy Rubin. He posted on his Twitter page a series of intriguing photos this Tuesday, October 8, showing off a smartphone that is slimmer on width and longer in length than is usual for such handheld devices. One of the images showed an active touchscreen display with what Rubin says is a new user interface. Another photo showcased four of the new phones with casings made out of what he calls “GEM Colorshift materials,” providing an interestingly glossy sheen on the packages.
Such a reveal from Rubin might be just what the doctor ordered after financial news noted that Essential Products was in dire straits following the lackluster 2017 release of their namesake Essential Phone. Once hyped as the ultimate mobile platform using the Android OS, buyers proved too attached to existing brand-name smartphone lines to take a gamble. This led to the cancellation of a second model in the Essential product line, plus the layoff of around 30% company staff all in the span of 2018.
About the only thing that can arrest the downward slide of Essential Products startup is if they could bring out a new gadget that would really sell. Andy Rubin has been teasing such a new smartphone from his startup all year, with his last posts to that effect being in July. The new phones he previewed, called “Project GEM” at the moment, presents a radical design convention that might play into buyer curiosity, though only time will tell if it will translate to sales. Rubin shared no other info on the new slim smartphones, though hopefully with images out, actual device specs will soon follow.
Images courtesy of The Verge