Skip to main content

Hardware startup Essential is shutting down after releasing only one device

It looks like Essential, the hardware startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, is done. The company announced that it was shutting down in the form of a blog post on its website, citing the fact that it had no clear path to delivering its next products to customers.

Essential launched three years ago, and it soon released its first product, the Essential PH-1 smartphone. At the time, the device was one of the first to offer an edge-to-edge display, and it received relatively good reviews for its modern design and good performance. That said, the device didn’t exactly sell as Essential might have hoped.

Toward the end of last year, the company released concept images of a new product, called Gem. Gem was essentially an ultra-slim smartphone with a new, custom version of Android.

“Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers,” said Essential in its blog post. “Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shut down Essential. We are incredibly grateful to our employees in Palo Alto and Bangalore as well as our global partners for their help and dedication bringing this concept to life.”

Of course, Essential wasn’t without its controversy — namely thanks to its founder, the creator of Android and former senior executive at Google, Andy Rubin. In 2018, a report from the New York Times highlighted Rubin’s sexual misconduct while at Google, also noting the steps Google took to sweep the allegations under the rug. Ultimately, the allegations led to Rubin leaving Google — but not without a massive $90 million exit package.

Unfortunately, the shut down of Essential also spells the end of support for its smartphones. The company also announced that the February 3 security update is the last for the Essential PH-1, so if you still have the PH-1 you’ll be using it at your own risk. On top of that, Newton Mail, which was bought by Essential in 2018, will also be shutting down in April — so if you’re still using Newton Mail, it might be time to migrate to a new email client. The company says that it will post a vendor image and other tools for developers who want to build software for the Essential PH-1 on Github.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Best Prime Day tablet deals: What to expect in 2024
OnePlus Pad next to an iPad.

With Amazon's Prime Day set to launch in July, you should already be preparing yourself if you're planning to buy a new tablet during the shopping holiday. We expect a lot of amazing discounts from Prime Day deals, and that includes extremely tempting prices for tablets by different manufacturers. Whether you want to stick to a tight budget or you're thinking about splurging on a premium device, here's everything that you need to know about the upcoming Prime Day tablet deals.
Today's best tablet deals

There's no official announcement yet on when Prime Day will run, which means it may take some time before you're able to access this year's Prime Day discounts for tablets. If you can no longer wait before making your purchase, fortunately, there are also some bargains that you can shop today. We've rounded up our favorite tablet deals below, which includes Apple's iPads and Android tablets by brands such as Samsung and Amazon. You have to hurry if you want to take advantage of any of these offers though, as we're not sure when they'll expire.

Read more
A hacker stole Tile customer data and tracker IDs
The Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker attached to a set of keys.

Data belonging to customers of Tile, which makes a small Bluetooth device for tracking objects, has been stolen in a security breach.

Life360, which owns Tile, said a hacker had breached a Tile customer support platform, stealing customer data that includes names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers, as well as Tile tracker IDs. However, precise location data linked to the Tile devices is not thought to have been accessed.

Read more
Montblanc’s luxury smartwatch is now even more beautiful
A promotional photo of the Montblanc Summit 3 in Glacier Blue.

If you’re keen to get a luxury smartwatch and want one of the most attractive ones out there, there’s a new option to choose from. It comes from Montblanc, which has released the Summit 3 smartwatch in a beautiful new Glacier Blue color. We’ll get to the price in a while, but lets take a good look at what it’s all about first.

The 42mm case is made from titanium and weighs 78 grams without the strap. It has the same polished finish as the standard Summit 3, but here it has a blue compass bezel around the screen. It gives the Glacier Blue Summit 3 a sportier look than other models. There are two straps in the box, a nylon-rubber strap in blue and a beautiful stitched calf leather strap also in blue.

Read more