Andy Rubin’s Essential is shutting down, along with Newton Mail

Look back at 2015 and recall that the former Android chief, Andy Rubin, started his own company called Essential to build a brand new vision for a smartphone.

That handset, eventually revealed to be the Essential Phone in 2017, ran a heavily modified version of Android and, well, did not sell very well. Essential pushed ahead, though, and in 2018 unveiled its next smartphone, the “Project GEM”, which boasted a very unique design and more modified Android software. However, Essential says it has “no clear path to deliver it to customers”, as part of the company’s announcement that it is shutting down.

In October, we introduced Project GEM, a new mobile experience that our hardware, software and cloud teams have been building and testing for the past few years. Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. 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.

That’s not all, though. If you’ll recall, Essential also purchased Newton Mail and added the CloudMagic team to its roster, and so that is also impacted by this decision to shut down Essential.

Perhaps worse is that Essential will no longer be providing updates to the Essential Phone units out there in the wild. Newton Mail will be available until April 30, 2020, and then it will be gone, too.

A sad day, but perhaps not entirely surprising. If you ever tried out the Essential Phone, what did you think of it?