The tech world has been buzzing with speculations for some time now, regarding Andy Rubin's new company Essential and its first product. Well, now finally we have the answer.
The man, responsible for the development of Android, is back with a bang. Essential has not only unveiled its first smartphone but has also unwrapped an Amazon Echo-like device and a new operating system, called "Ambient". However, all three products were revealed online with graphics, so we still have to wait for the final hands-on verdicts.
Andy Rubin has always created some of the most unique products in the tech industry. As an engineer at the Apple spinoff General Magic, he built some of the world's first internet-connected portable devices. He was the mind behind Sidekick, when he worked for Danger; and Sidekick literally defined the smartphone category even before the term was invented. And finally, he was the mastermind behind Android, an OS that is today used in more two billion smartphone, TVs, cars and watches across the globe.
So, when this man goes to create his own company, one does not expect anything less than precision and perfection.
As the CEO of Essential Products, Rubin wants to make the company the first great gadget maker since Apple, which would develop, build and distribute open platform, which would then power billions of phones, watches, light bulbs, and toaster ovens about to come online, reported The Wire.
Does he want Essential to sell 50 million smartphone this quarter? No. You read that right; he doesn't want his products to be sold to everyone. "We've gone after technologies and methods of manufacturing that aren't designed to support 50 million devices," says Andy Rubin. He doesn't want everybody to have Essential's products; this company will be a novelty, not a commodity gadget builder.
"We're not for everybody," Jason Keats, the company's head of product architecture says. "You know it's going to be a little exclusive."
According to Wired, the team was certain that they are going to build a titanium phone, however, the the metal is expensive and wasteful.
"So we literally traveled around the world to find somebody who could process in a different way," says Keats. Finally, the team found a perfect German company that "injection-molds the material, which involves pouring molten titanium into a mold rather than milling it from a block," wrote Wired.
As per the publication, employees at Essential told the Wired with "more than a little glee" that Apple tried to make their next iPhone with titanium but failed in their attempt.
The shape was also a matter of great concern and tremendous research. While the company wanted something refreshing and unique, they knew that the consumer base is not ready for a drastic change yet.
Just to decide the shape and find out which shape fills how in the grip, the team spent hours by just cutting plexiglass into every conceivable shape. Still, the company went on with a traditional rectangular shape and an offbeat camera setting, why? Because "product design for me isn't more complicated than just building a product for myself," Rubin says. He buys every phone and according to the publication, "they cover virtually every surface of his office", and they all leave him with dissatisfaction. "It could be something as simple as bad battery life, or a user interface that was unusable, or a bunch of fluff and bloatware that I didn't need."
Now the Essential's first smartphone is the phone that Rubin always wanted. It doesn't have a branding, doesn't have any name other that Essential phone. It runs Android (did you expect anything else from "The Father"), pure Android with no bloatware or customized interface. Apart from a small space for the front facing 8-megapixel camera, the phone's 5.7-inch screen doesn't have a bezel. It is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 processor along with 4GB RAM and 128 GB on-device storage. This device looks great even if it's not waterproof.
Essential's first accessory, not exactly an accessory though, is a 360-degree-camera of a size of a little bigger than your thumb. There is no Bluetooth pairing or any app to run it, the phone just treats it as an internal camera.
The Home will be coming later this year and it is designed to bring together all the smart devices in your home, finally making them all work together. "The team built a system that combines SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest, and the rest, futzing in the background with the public APIs in order to make everything work seamlessly together," writes the publication. It is compatible with Alexa, Siri and also Google Assistant, has a touchscreen and voice control. Andy Rubin hopes it will finally feel like you're interacting with your home, not just a gadget in your room.
Rubin plans to keep the magnetic dock for attaching accessories the same with all his upcoming products so that, people don't have to buy all new accessories with a new phone and can use the old ones even with a new phone.
Rubin thinks the Ambient OS, and the gadgets it will control, will finally become the true spiritual successor of Android.
Finally, Essential believes that something flawless and integrated will drive the technology into the mainstream. This was the approach that helped Apple become the biggest company on the planet—MP3 players were present before the iPod, and smartphones before the iPhone, but Apple appeared to be the first company that seized those two ideas. Essential exists with the same approach because Rubin believes Apple doesn't have it in them anymore and he wants to pick up where Apple left off.