• Founder and CEO of Essential Products Andy Rubin speaks onstage at WIRED Business Conference at Spring Studios on June 7, 2017, in New York City. [credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired ]


Andy Rubin's smartphone startup, Essential, is finally dead. Today, Essential announced in a blog post that it is closing its doors, saying that, since it has "no clear path to deliver" its newest smartphone to customers, the company has "made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential."
Essential was Andy Rubin's next company after his previous gig at Google, where he lead the development of Android, taking the OS from nothing to the world's most popular operating system. Being "The Father of Android" meant venture capital firms would throw money at him when he left Google to form a new company. That company was Essential, where Andy Rubin jumped full time into smartphone hardware. The company was valued at $1.2 billion before it even sold a single product.
Essential ended up releasing a single smartphone, the Essential Phone, in 2017, along with two modular accessories: a $200 360-degree camera and a $150 clip-on headphone jack (yes, really). Since then, the company has just kind of hung around and canceled in-development products. It has done very little in the "selling things for money" category of business. Essential planned to sell a charging dock for the Essential Phone, but that product was never released. Alongside the phone, the company announced a smart display called the "Essential Home" and a new smart operating system called "Ambient OS," but neither the hardware or software ever materialized.

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