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Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s Essential is shutting down operations

Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s smartphone company Essential, which kicked off 2017 by announcing their first smartphone, is now shutting down after failing to see a clear path towards the release of their second offering, Gem,

The company also announced that the security update sent to Essential PH-1 on February 3 will be the last software update from them for the device and customer support for the same has been shut too. Those using Newton Mail on their Essential smartphones will have access to the service through April 30, 2020.

Project Gem was announced by the Essential team in October 2019 as the successor to its first phone with a vision to “invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs”. However, due to an unclear path to get the product to the consumer market, the company has decided to shut shop.

Android co-founder Andy Rubin's Essential is shutting down operations
Essential Project Gem

“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. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential,” the company announced.

A prebuilt of Essential’s vendor image and everything else developers need to keep hacking and creating for PH-1 is hosted on this Github page.

Android co-founder Andy Rubin's Essential is shutting down operations
Essential PH-1 was the company’s first phone that started shipping in August 2017

“To the Essential and Newton Mail communities, we offer our deepest thanks for your support and passion for our vision. You motivated us, kept us on our toes and made it all worthwhile.”

Before Essential’s first and only phone (PH-1) to hit the market was unveiled on May 30, 2017, talking about the current state of technology, Andy Rubin said, “Less and less choice. More and more unnecessary features cluttering our lives. An increasing sea of products that didn’t work with one another”. According to him, Essential was supposed to change this but looks like it has succumbed to the marketing prowess of the same market it sought to disrupt and democratise.

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