Andy Rubin has been involved in the mobile industry for years, including a role in founding both Danger (makers of the Sidekick) and Android before it was acquired by Google. Now, Rubin is heading up an effort to build new phones at his new company, Essential. Rubin says the phone is coming soon — as soon as next week — and he has the pictures to prove it.
The long-teased Essential Phone PH-1 was unveiled at the end of May, and at that time Rubin said the device would be in our hands inside of a month. That didn’t happen, and Essential was silent on the reason. Later, Rubin confirmed the team was still working toward a release date, but no specifics were given.
It’s not hard to believe there would be some last minute issues with the hardware. Essential is going all out for its debut phone. The device has a big 5.71-inch LCD with QHD resolution and a 19:10 aspect ratio. Thus, it’s taller device like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 earlier this year. That allows the panel to fill the available space more completely. In fact, the Essential Phone’s screen goes right up to the edge and has a somewhat odd cutout at the top for the front-facing camera.
Also on the agenda (and possibly causing issues) is a modular accessory system that connects to the phone magnetically. It doesn’t take over the entire back like Motorola’s Moto Mods, though. Essential’s modules attach to a pair of contacts near the top of the rear panel. So far, there’s just a 360-degree camera.
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) August 9, 2017
Whatever the delay, Rubin says the device is finally in full production. He shared some photos of the phones being assembled. It’s unclear from the photos if these are fully functional phones, or just the titanium frames — yes, the phone will have a titanium frame, along with a ceramic back. Rubin says the phone will be available next week, and he better be right this time. If Essential misses two self-imposed release deadlines, it’s going to lose face. We’re also getting close to the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone season, and Essential doesn’t need any more competition than it already has.
The Essential Phone will be available unlocked for $ 700 from its own site, Amazon, and other retailers. Sprint will also carry the phone in stores.