Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android, finally revealed his new smartphone today, called Essential PH-1.Rubin teased a photo of the new smartphone on Twitter back in March; it will, unsurprisingly, run Android. Rubin will say more about his new company and smartphone on Recode’s Code Conference stage where he will be interviewed by Walt Mossberg;
Unlike Apple, which tends to be selective about what apps can run on the iPhone and only until recently started letting users delete unwanted apps that came pre-installed, Essential is touting itself as a company that values user choice and interoperability first.
“Devices are your personal property,” Rubin wrote in a blog post today announcing his new company. “We won’t force you to have anything on them you don’t want to have.”He continues by hinting that Essential won’t have a product schedule premised on planned obsolescence that forces customers to update their device every year. Rather, he says, devices “should evolve with you.”
“We will always play well with others. Closed ecosystems are divisive and outdated,” writes Rubin.’
The first smartphone from Essential features a screen that stretches to cover the full front of the phone. Even the camera lens is embedded in the screen. The phone comes with 128 gigabytes of storage and can take 13-megapixel pictures and 4K videos.Looking at the new smartphone, you won’t know who made it. That’s because Rubin’s team decided not to put any logos on its titanium and ceramic exterior, materials Essential chose because they don’t blemish, “unlike the aluminum competitor devices,” the website reads.
The phone also doesn’t have a headphone jack, so, like the iPhone 7, users will be forced to either use a dongle or wireless headphones.
Essential isn’t just planning to be a smartphone maker. The company is also touting an Essential Home device.
The Essential Home has a screen, making it look a bit like the Echo and google home , and shares a name with the smart-home hub from Rubin’s former employer, Google.
But the feature that Rubin’s new company thinks will set its Home apart from the others is privacy. Essential Home is designed to run most of its functions locally on the device, in order to keep as much data as possible in the home. This is different from the way many smart-home devices work, where data collected from the home is stored on a distant server, as opposed to on the device itself.
The Essential Phone is available now for preorder for $699 and comes in four colors: Black Moon, Stellar Gray, Pure White and Ocean Depths. The Essential Home device is not yet available for preorder and no price is listed. Read more about Andy Rubin’s first phonePh-1 Here.