Everyone here knows who Andy Rubin is — the Godfather of Android — and most would know of Essential, the company he created to build Android products. Unfortunately it seems that all is not so rosy at Essential and they have hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on a potential sale.
After hiring Credit Suisse Group AG Essential has received interest from at least one buyer and has now become more active in attempting to sell itself. Valued at close to US$1 billion a year ago it would take a serious suitor to purchase them. At the same time Essential are shifting their focus to the smart home products that they launched aside their phone last year.
Essential’s phone last year was the Ph-1 and was the first full screen, notched display that made it to to the mainstream (sort of). The Ph-1 had a ceramic backing as well as unique pogo pins for attachment of accessories such as a 3D camera. As you would expect from Andy Rubin, the Ph-1 runs stock Android.
At release the Ph-1 was priced at US$699 and sales struggled at that price selling only 20,000 units in early days which is no surprise when there were still major software issues including a very sub-standard camera. After dropping the price US$200 they have now sold 150,000 but that it seems is not enough.
Essential have apparently cancelled the development of their next phone instead opting to tunnel their resources and engineers towards an upcoming smart home product expected to be released later this year. While it is not uncommon for companies to cancel products that are in development it is a shift in focus for Essential from what everyone expects from them.
At this stage there are no definite statements from either company involved in the sale process and until we do hear that nothing is set in stone. It is disappointing to see Essential cancel their 2018 flagship — it is something we were all looking forward to after the innovative Ph-1 last year.
Will we ever see another phone from Essential or is it just too hard for a start up company to make it alone in the smartphone world?