Andy Rubin created Android: now he’s making the “Essential” smartphone

Chris Burns - Jan 13, 2017
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Andy Rubin created Android: now he’s making the “Essential” smartphone

Android inventor Andy Rubin has started another company which may well deliver the next big thing in smartphones and artificial intelligence. According to Bloomberg, Rubin’s company “Essential” is producing a “suite” of devices that’ll likely work together in concert. The first legal filing to appear with the word “Essential” on it tied to Rubin was a USPTO filing for the Essential logo – and the filing has Rubin’s name on it.

According to the first filing for Essential at the USPTO, the company will be working with “mobile phones; smart phones; computers and tablet computers; accessories and replacement parts for all the aforementioned goods; computer operating software for mobile phones, smart phones, computers and tablet computers.” The USPTO filing can be found VIA Archive.org where it’ll be kept safe for the future.

SEE TOO: Andy Rubin bets on Quantum Computing and AI for the future

Essential Products Inc., as it’s called, is said to be speaking with “mobile carrier executives” this year. According to Bloomberg, Rubin discussed the company’s first smartphone with mobile carrier executives already this year at CES 2017. This smartphone is said to be a high-end smartphone made to compete with the highest-end smartphones the competition has to offer – think iPhone and Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S.

This same source says that there’ll be a single smartphone (for starters) with a “large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel.” We’ve heard that “no bezel” business quite a few times before – hopefully, just to experience for real for once, the folks at Essential will deliver on this rumor.

Sources suggest that one prototype of the first Essential phone has a 5.5-inch display with a body that’s smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus. Not that having a body smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus would be especially difficult, but this device’s lack of a bezel is tipped to be a big contributing factor in its overall small body size. Sources also say that this smartphone’s makers are in negotiations with Foxconn for manufacturing.

The pack of sources speaking with Bloomberg suggested this week that the first Essential phone will be unique in several ways. It’ll have its own proprietary connector that’ll charge the device and allow the device to have add-on accessories through the future. This connector will be magnetic, and the device will be made with metal edges and a ceramic backside.

This description fits well with a patent recently uncovered by SlashGear. Filed first in the spring of 2016, “Co-mold features on a chassis shell of a mobile device” shows an Essential Products, Inc. method for manufacturing a rather unique sort of smartphone device. In the first set of drawings (ABOVE), one image of the phone with a unibody design is shown (on the left). On the right is what we can safely assume is a representation of this new proprietary connector.

In the patent, Essential describes a method for creating a smartphone without the usual openings. Crevices will no longer allow for the ingress of dust, and all interaction between the user and the device will be done with buttons or the touchscreen without exposed seams or holes. The connector you see above is also made to connect without requiring a USB port – again, making this all work without a hole.

This design also allows for any of several sensors to be integrated with the device, including an electrical sensor system, optical sensor system, mechanical force sensor system, or “any combination thereof.” Gestures will produce results, that is to say – if Essential decides to make it so.

Rubin will lead this project, and this company, and their first release will likely com later this year. If all goes as planned, this first Essential smartphone will be part of a family of devices that integrate artificially intelligent computing and likely effortless connectivity. The first phone is tipped to be running with a proposed price close to that of the iPhone 7 – that’s right around $649 for starters.


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