Essential, the start-up of Android inventor Andy Rubin, closes the doors after around 2.5 years and a smartphone has appeared. For owners of the Essential PH-1, this means the end of updates and support.
In purely economic terms, the end of the company comes as no surprise: Development in mid-2018 on a successor to the only smartphone is said to have been stopped and a sale of the company was considered. In October 2019, Essential presented Project GEM, a concept for a different, elongated smartphone and showed that something new is being worked on. However, the concept did not reach market maturity. Missing their own ideas for the new project gives Essential as reason to close the company.
Many efforts for nothing
The main product from Essential was the smartphone PH-1, which received its last official update on February 3 with the last Android security patch. Despite efforts with various accessories such as a 360-degree camera, price cuts and ongoing updates, the PH-1 was a niche market. In the end, layoffs of up to 30 percent of the employees were not economically sufficient. In addition to the smartphone, Essential also developed the paid email app Newton Mail after the takeover of the underlying development team CloudMagic in December 2018.
For owners of the PH-1, this means no updates and support. Newton Mail users can use the service until the end of April. In order to continue to offer developers and hobbyists options for the device, the vendor image and other resources for flashing, rooting and Co. are published on Github.