Every time we walk into a store to upgrade our phones, we are met with a multitude of options to choose from when deciding on our next device. In the past decade, we have seen a few companies flourish in the smartphone market – companies like Apple, Samsung, and LG. We have also seen many falter under the growing need for more innovation, better security, and even more creativity that has been demanded by us, the consumers. We now find ourselves left with many hardware options, but only two main operating systems on our smartphones, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS. Android’s co-founder, Andy Rubin, plans to change that.
Taking the ‘Essential’ route
Rubin sold Android to Google in 2005, three years before the operating system’s official release. At that point, he stayed on with Google until 2014. Since leaving Google, Rubin has been working on what some are referring to as a risky business venture. After founding Playground Global, a company focused on quantum computing and AI, Rubin is now looking to branch out into the smartphone market again.
He is looking to integrate his love of software with Artificial Intelligence, which he hopes to shake up the smartphone market as we know it. “In order for AI to blossom and fulfill consumer needs, it has to be about data,” Rubin said in June. “That’s where robotics come in. Robots are walking mobile sensors, who can sense their environment and interact and learn from those interactions.” In addition to this new integration, Rubin also wants to supply the hardware for it to live – his very own smartphone.
With his 40-person team, consisting former executives from both Apple and Google, Rubin is developing his new smartphone. Rubin’s new device, which still a prototype has been dubbed the name ‘Essential.’ The name comes from filings found for the business entity ‘Essential Products’ with Rubin’s name on the filing, although actual claims to the name by Rubin or hist staff have not yet been made.
The potential design
Although no one has physically seen this smartphone ‘Essential’, we do know some of its specs. The screen is larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5″), although with the lack of bezels, the entire device is actually smaller. Rubin’s team is also studying different ways for the device’s screen to feel pressure, similar to haptic feedback. There is also evidence of the team testing the device with metal edges and a ceramic back to ensure durability.
Developers behind ‘Essential’ are also working on a connector that works as a charging port for the device, as well as a port for expanding functionality of the phone over time – where some believe the robotics feature will be updated, expanded, and further developed. Foxconn, who has worked with Rubin as an investor in Global Playground, is going to assist in the development of the ‘Essential’ hardware.
Will this smartphone ‘Essential’ make a big splash?
Time will tell – and it won’t take long, either. Rubin has described himself as a very impatient person, and plans to unveil the new device and software by June 2017. There are many people out there set in their ways with their devices and OS-of-choice, but for those that are curious about newcomers in the market, ‘Essential’ may prove to hold its own. It takes a lot for a device or operating system to take off, but with Rubin’s proven track record with Android, he is already a big name in the industry.
As far as market share, Google and Android together hold 98%, with Microsoft and others barely holding on. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact ‘Essential’ will have on market, especially considering Rubin comes from the company that holds the largest portion of that share. Will people follow his innovative creation, or will they simply shrug and stick to their own status quo? This may sound like a huge feat, but it’s possible Rubin has all the ingredients he needs to do it all again.