Android creator Andy Rubin on the verge of a comeback
Taking a leap from software, Rubin is looking to make his mark in the consumer hardware industry with Essential.
At the centre of his project is a new modular high-end smartphone aimed at the top of the market alongside Apple's iPhones.
Andy Rubin's background
Andy Rubin sold his brainchild Android to Google in 2005, and spent the next eight years improving it. In 2014, Rubin left Google after forming Google's robotics unit. Rubin's next project, Playground Global, was a start-up incubator for AI, robotics, and augmented reality start-ups.
What is Essential all about?
In November 2015, Rubin registered Essential Products Inc. with California regulators.
A year later, in late 2016, the company registered "Essential" with the US Patent and Trademark Office, listing a host of devices like tablets, smartphones, accessories, and a "computer operating software for mobile phones" among its list of products.
According to inside sources, Rubin will serve as CEO of Essential.
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Andy Rubin is looking towards the future
In the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June 2016, Andy Rubin said, "New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years. What's the next platform?... It's about data and people training AI systems to learn."
What we know of Essential's flagship phone
While still in the prototyping stage, Essential's modular smartphone will feature a screen larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inches).
The phone will have a bezel-less screen, and sport a ceramic body and a metal framework.
It will also have a "magnetic connector", allowing third-parties to make modules for the phone.
As of now, not much is known about its specifications.
Essential to launch its phone in the middle of 2017
According to a source familiar with the matter, Essential is planning to launch its flagship phone in the middle of 2017 for a price similar to that of the iPhone 7. However, the source also said that plans were in a state of constant flux.
Rubin's star-studded team
Rubin has put together a 40-man star-studded team for Essential.
Former senior Google software manager Rebecca Zavin is in charge of Essential's software.
Ex-Apple engineers Jason Keats and Joe Tate are helping with hardware, while ex-Motorola designer Linda Jiang is in charge of design.
Former Google X business executive Kelly Liang is heading business development.
Marketing is being headed by ex-Samsung executive Brian Wallace.