Essential, the startup Andy Rubin founded upon leaving Google, has announced it is shutting down.
Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, started Essential in 2015 with the goal of creating a new line of phones, as well as smart speakers. Unfortunately for the company, the Essential Phone (PH-1) didn’t received the greatest reviews and failed to carve out a substantial market.
Similarly, the company announced Essential Home, a smart speaker to compete with the likes of the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home. Ultimately, the company halted development on the speaker in an effort to focus on its phone lineup. The company also acquired CloudMagic, maker of the popular Newton email client. Essential finally announced a new phone initiative, Project GEM, that would have relied heavily on voice control and artificial intelligence.
In the announcement outlining the shutdown, the company says: “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 goes on to say the PH-1 security update that was released on February 3 will be the last, and Newton Mail will stop functioning after April 30, 2020. Although the company does not go into further detail about what led to the shutdown, it seems the company’s focus was somewhat scattered for a startup trying to break into a crowded market. In addition, given the sexual misconduct allegations against Andy Rubin, the company may have had difficulty securing additional funding and support.
Either way, it’s a sad end to a phone that had some promising potential and an email client that was beloved by many.