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.
Andy Rubin, the guy who came up with Android, today announced his new smartphone post-Google, featuring an edge-to-edge display that one-ups Samsung's Galaxy S8, in addition to an Amazon Echo-like appliance with on-device intelligence.
Both products debuted from Rubin's new company, Essential.
Essential Phone, as it's called, runs Android and has a 5.71-inch QHD edge-to-edge display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The display extends all the way to the the top of the device and wraps around the front-facing camera.
The Echo rival, called Essential Home, features compatibility with Apple's HomeKit framework and other software platforms for the connected home.
Both products can be pre-ordered today.Essential Phone
Encased in a titanium body with a ceramic back, Essential Phone can survive a drop test “without blemish, unlike the aluminum competitor devices,” says the company. The premium smartphone with a high-resolution 5.71-inch, 2,560-by-1,312 pixel display is powered by Qualcomm's eight-core Snapdragon 835 processor with four gigabytes of RAM.
Essential Phone lacks the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and uses Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C.
Customers will be able to use any Bluetooth or USB-C-based headset with the phone. The Verge has learned that Essential Phone will ship with a headphone dongle in the box.
Other features include a magnetic connector on the back side for connecting accessories like a new 360-degree camera, a 13-megapixel dual-lens camera with a second lens using a monochrome sensor for better low-light shots, an eight-megapixel selfie camera with 4K video capture, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and other perks.
According to the company, the magnetic connector was designed with modularity in mind, to help keep Essential Phone “cord-free, future-proof and always up-to-date".Essential Home
Built on the open-source Ambient OS software which can automatically discover and use new devices on its network, Essential Home has a built-in round display at the top which can be turned on just by glancing at it (or by tapping or using your voice) to quickly see contextual information.
The accessory uses on-device artificial intelligence rather than offload AI features to the cloud. Like with Apple's AI implementation, such an approach helps preserve user privacy. Its proactive assistant will support notifications and reminders with contextual information displayed on the built-in screen.
Essential Home should support Nest and SmartThings devices for the connected home. According to Wired, it will feature hooks for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.Availability
Essential Phone will be available in Black, Gray, White and Ocean Depths colors. At the time of this writing, only white models were able for pre-order. The contract-free phone costs $699.
Essential's 360-degree camera currently costs $50, but the price will eventually increase to $199. Pricing for Essential Home is yet to be announced, but we do know that the device will ship later this summer.
Andy Rubin is schedule to give a talk later today at Recode's Code Conference.
Andy Rubin is one of the original creators of Android and Apple may summon him to testify in a new trial set for late-March as part of the ongoing Apple v. Samsung legal battle. According to a report by TUAW, a witness list Apple filed with the court last week has revealed the iPhone maker is considering calling Rubin to testify on the potentially sensitive topics of the development of infringing Android features. He may also be asked to comment on "Google documents relating to such development"...
I clearly remember September 2008 when the HTC G1 debuted in partnership with Google and T-Mobile. Google's first usable Android-driven handset arrived some fifteen months after the iPhone had gone on sale in June 2007 and tech die-hards were startled that it didn't incorporate the pinch-zoom gesture.
Android would be deployed across lots more handsets before eventually implementing not only pinch-zooming, but other familiar iPhone features as well. There was an unconfirmed rumor at the time that Google removed multitouch gestures from initial Android builds at Apple's request.
In all honesty, the notion seemed a bit crazy. Why would Google take the iPhone head on and yet cave in to Apple's demands? According to a new 272-page book titled Dogfight: How Apple And Google Went To War And Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein, Apple's then CEO Steve Jobs imposed that choice on Google's Android head Andy Rubin by sheer willpower...
It's not often that Silicon Valley gets to mix tech with romance, but there appears to be a full-blown soap opera erupting in the executive suites at Google.
Hugo Barra, who as product manager for Android was the face of Google's mobile software, is moving to China and smartphone maker Xiaomi.
But what's got tongues wagging is that Barra's departure comes amidst news that he leaves a Google romance. Google's co-founder - who just split with his wife - is on the rebound: with a Google employee. Confused? Don't worry, we'll explain it all below, as well as what the product chief's new job may mean for Android and Apple...
In a totally unexpected move, Google Wednesday announced its long-time Android head and Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content, Andy Rubin, is stepping down.
He will be replaced by Chrome vice president Cundar Pichai, who will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post he expects Pichai to "double down on Android", noting "the pace of innovation has never been greater".
Despite Android's indisputable lead in terms of device activations, latest data suggests that Apple's iOS stole some share from Google's mobile platform in the United States, the most important market for smartphones. The iOS platform is also the preferred choice for developers because Apple leads in terms of metrics that matter.
The decision to replace Rubin at the height of his career cries for parallels with Apple CEO Tim Cook's firing of iOS boss Scott Forstall in August 2012, whose abrasive management style is said to have created unnecessary friction between key Apple executives...
Continuing with the whole iOS location-tracking fiasco, the folks over at All Things D have posted a video from last year of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google Android co-founder and former CEO, Andy Rubin, discussing their thoughts regarding privacy and location tracking on smartphones.
The video footage includes snippets from last years D8 conference and December 2010's Dive Into Mobile conference. Both Jobs and Rubin assured smartphone owners that privacy was valued on both platforms...