Rubin phone brand Essential shuts down - Mobile World Live

Rubin phone brand Essential shuts down

13 FEB 2020

Essential, the US-based device vendor backed by former Android head Andy Rubin, announced it will close its doors a matter of months after apparently laying rumours of its pending demise to rest when it outlined plans for a second model.

The company revealed its decision to “cease operations” in a blog: “Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs.”

Essential made its debut in May 2017 with its PH-1 smartphone, but struggled to win share in a competitive market. The company cut nearly a third of its staff in October 2018 and halted sales of the device in January 2019, sparking speculation about its future.

It appeared to have laid the rumours to rest when, in October 2019, it detailed plans for its second device, dubbed Project Gem. At the time it stated the model was in “early testing with our team outside the lab”.

However, in its closure blog, the company said: “Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers.”

The vendor added a security update issued for PH-1 earlier this month would be the last from its software team. Users of email service Newton Mail will continue to have access until 30 April.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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