February 13: essential products, a smartphone start-up founded by Andy Rubin, the father of Android, has been shut down.
The company said it had “made a difficult decision to stop operations”. In a blog post on Wednesday, essential said it pushed ahead with projectgem phones with mini screens and a new software platform as much as possible, but ultimately thought “there was no clear way to deliver it to customers.”.
Rubin, who previously led Google’s Android mobile software business for many years, left the Internet giant in 2014 after being accused of sexual harassment by an employee. Google’s investigation found the charges credible and asked him to resign, but still offered $90 million in severance compensation. That has sparked protests from thousands of Google employees and triggered at least one lawsuit against the company. Rubin denied wrongdoing.
Essential has secured more than $300 million in financing from redpoint ventures, altimeter capital, Tencent holdings and Foxconn. Rubin’s start-up incubator, playground global, is also a supporter.
The start-up was one of the first to use full screen design for smartphones, and technology giants such as apple and Samsung have followed suit. Essential’s equipment was not sold well in the early stage, so it started to cut staff and sought to sell.
“Our vision is to invent a mobile computing model that integrates more seamlessly with people’s lifestyle needs, despite our best efforts, unfortunately there is no clear way to deliver it to customers,” the company said in the article. In view of this, we have made a difficult decision to stop operations and close Essential. “
Last October, the company introduced a new product plan, “gem project”, which is a new size design of mobile devices, but this product has no chance of mass production and sales.
In the past few years, the outside world has long questioned the survival prospects of essential company. Several years ago, the company launched its first smart phone, but to the outside world’s surprise, Rubin’s choice of competitors turned out to be Samsung Electronics, apple and other high-end mobile phone manufacturers. The price of this product is high and it is lack of market competitiveness, so it quickly loses in the market.
It is believed that Rubin’s vision for the smartphone market is somewhat ambitious. In the past few years, Samsung Electronics and apple have monopolized the high-end mobile phone market, and the two giants have enough capital to maintain the premium of high-end mobile phones, such as Samsung Electronics’ innovation in hardware such as display screen (Samsung has raw material business such as display screen), as well as Apple’s brand influence and strong IOS ecosystem. Rubin’s high-end mobile phones have no core competitive advantage.
In addition, in the past few years, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market segment is not in the field of high-end mobile phones, but Android phones with high cost performance of about $200. Relying on such cost-effective products, Chinese companies have occupied a leading position in India, Southeast Asia, Russia and other markets, and have a firm foothold in the world’s first group of smart phones. But Rubin is not interested in such a low-end smartphone market.
With the collapse of essential, another software service, Newtonian mail, will come to an end. Newton mail is a powerful user-centered email client, and essential acquired cloudmagic in 2018.
For the service, the company said users will still be able to use Newton mail service by the end of April this year.
According to reports, essential’s first smartphone, Ph1, is a 5.71-inch smartphone made of ceramic and titanium materials, with a narrow frame screen. As the phone has never been as popular as the company hoped, essential announced in December 2018 that it would stop selling it.
With the collapse of the company, Ph1 mobile phone users will be difficult to obtain technical support or system updates in the future. It is reported that the company plans to provide the version of smartphone system software on GitHub, a code sharing platform, for some of the existing users to modify or upgrade their own code.
According to foreign media reports, Rubin also participated in an incubator business project called playground, but last month it was reported that he had sold his equity in the company.