Essential smartphone: where does the hype come from?

The startup Essential Products, founded in 2015 by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, has recently become a “unicorn”. On Silicon Valley slang, this means that the firm is valued at more than $ 1 billion. For a young company that is going to release physical devices and compete with Apple, this is a serious milestone. The title of "unicorn" is even more impressive, considering that Essential did not ship a single device to buyers at the time of the assessment. At the same time, even in Russia, they have heard about the company. Artemy Lebedev writes in his blog:
“The most interesting company today is Essential. I am sure that they will be able to move many. And we will hear a lot more about them. ”
Banderolka figured out where such attention to the new company came from and whether it would evaporate with the release of their first smartphone, which buyers are now starting to receive →


The main HYIP is associated with the name of Andy Rubin himself . Since 1989, he worked at Apple, where he got the nickname "Android" for his productivity. In 2003, he created an operating system (named after himself, of course). At that time nobody thought about smartphone applications, Apple happily sold iPods, and Nokia and Siemens were considered giants of the mobile industry. In 2005, Google bought the new startup. Rubin worked for the “corporation of good”, decided that it was not for him, opened a bakery (mmm!) And began selling delicious sweets. Then, in his own words, he realized that something was wrong with the smartphone market: commercialization, attitude to users, like cash cows ... And the Android system in the hands of Samsung, Sony and the rest played a serious role in this movement.

It was then that Andy Rubin decided to return to big business. But at the same time, “returning passion to smartphones” (whatever that means). In 2017, Andy announced the imminent release of the phone, personifying this very passion, and the news was gladly picked up by journalists and neighbors in Silicon Valley. Essential Phone called "anti-iphone." The provocative title played into the hands of both the news sites and Andy Rubin himself.

In fact, the opinion has emerged that Essential could be the only American-quality alternative to Apple in the smartphone market. Only on Android and "for those who are in the subject", and not for the mass public. Comparison with Apple is no coincidence: Essential smartphone is made in China by Foxconn , which also releases the iPhone . She is also a Rubin partner, invests in development and will help Essential Phone to enter the Chinese market. This is important for two reasons. First of all, the Chinese are now the main buyers of smartphones in the world, they spend even more on them than Americans do. Secondly, Android in China occupies more than 80% of the market, and Essential Phone will feel at home there.

One of the main advantages, because of which investors have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Rubin project, is not in the smartphone, but in the ecosystem . The idea is that a whole cavalcade of devices for a “smart home” will form around Essential. Of these, we still know only about the column Essential Home. Thanks to her, the smartphone will turn into an assistant and will be able to launch various operations on a voice command. Obviously, the column should be a competitor for Google Home. The details are still unclear, but Rubin’s ambitions clearly go further than the release of a new smartphone, and it’s important for the silicon magnates to know.

6 ideas by Andy Rubin

Essential is designed to make the use of technology as convenient as possible. Although Android has achieved a lot over the past 14 years, this OS is also responsible for making new smartphones more difficult, instead of being simpler. Each manufacturer adds its own applications to the system, extra programs, themes. Many products refuse to work with each other or perform the same function, and users have to put up with it. According to Rubin, he feels responsible for this, and Essential should be one of the first steps towards solving this problem.

In his blog, Rubin published 6 ideas that he took as the basis for working on Essential Products:

1. Gadgets - your personal property. We will not force you to use what you do not want.
2. We will cooperate with others. Closed ecosystems are hopelessly outdated.
3. Access to premium materials and high quality work should not be restricted.
4. Gadgets should not become obsolete every year. They must develop with you.
5. Technology should help you enjoy life.
6. Easier - always better.

Rubin’s manifesto has become quite popular, but even if you agree with him on all points, you don’t need to immediately run and change your iPhone 7 to Essential PH-1. The new company, seeking to compete with Apple, are criticized.


So far, Essential Products from the outside does not look very professional. The main updates on the company's work mostly appear on the founder’s twitter account. The new smartphone was announced in the same place - on Andy Rubin's tweet from March 27, 2017. On the one hand, press releases, conferences and announcements at the expo are something the industry has already become accustomed to, and Essential seems to be in opposition to this, so how else can he declare himself? On the other hand, announcing a new gadget in a small personal twitter is still quite modest.

It undermines the faith and constant postponement of sending the smartphone. First exit was scheduled for July. Then - at the beginning of August, then - at August 18, and suddenly the possibility of buying online from Best Buy and Amazon opened on the 17th, a day earlier than expected. The reason for the monthly delay — a bug found in the software — also inspires some concerns. Still, in this area, the creator of Android should understand the best, and here you are.

Ecosystem? The idea is good, but it is not very clear whether it will be implemented. According to rumors, the ecosystem will work on a proprietary modular interface, and all devices will be contacted wirelessly at 60 GHz. It is unclear whether you need your own API here, whether someone can create fashion for Essential, add their own gadgets. If the sales of the smartphone do not meet the expectations, except for the Essential Home column, we will not see anything, and by itself it will not give the user anything of the kind.

However, fans of the Essential Phone design and the idea behind the company were not against expectations, so the hyip around the gadget continues. Fans believe in the future of the ecosystem, and obviously you can’t write them down to the number of "deceived by advertising": Essential Products isn’t spent on such Essential Products, and the main fans of the novelty, apparently, are those enthusiasts who are not impatient. A couple of weeks ago, Amazon, Tencent and Foxconn were among Essential strategic investors. In total, they invested $ 300 million into Andy Rubin’s company. Obviously, the main American store and large Chinese corporations are able to count their money and, apparently, understand that the gadget can shoot.

How did he come out

What's wrong with that, in this “very high-end gadget of summer”? The first smartphones have already reached the reviewers, and in general they (that is, reviewers) are positive. According to TheVerge , the smartphone is “more beautiful and more pleasant than other flagships”. Among the advantages are absolutely clean Android without unnecessary add-ons, a frameless screen and long battery life.

Essential Phone works on Android 7.1.1. Google has already introduced Android 8.0 Oreo, but the update on this system in the priorities is not yet worth it. For hardware, the smartphone is similar to the flagships of Google Pixel ($ 649 in the US Google Store) and Samsung Galaxy S8 ($ 575 on Amazon) . It has the same processor as the Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon 835), 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The battery is slightly larger than in Pixel and Galaxy S8 (3040 mAh). Screen resolution - 2560x1312, diagonal - 5.71 inches. The screen is frameless, which again makes the Essential Phone look like a Galaxy S8. True, there is a difference - the front camera, installed in the new top in the middle. There were a lot of complaints about this camera when the first renders were presented to the public, but people who received their smartphones say that you don’t pay attention to it at all.

Behind the two cameras - the usual 13 megapixels and monochrome 3 megapixels. They say the color rendition is even better than the iPhone, Pixel and Galaxy S8. The gadget also boasts an unusual design and body made of titanium and ceramics. The strangest element is two magnetic points in the back. Various modules can be connected to them, while it is a charging station and a 360 ° camera. Essential developers hint that there is a sensor in turn for applications of augmented reality.

You can buy Essential on Best Buy , Amazon and on the official website . The price of the smartphone is $ 699. For a kit with a 360-degree camera, you will be asked for $ 749 (if you take two products separately, it will cost $ 898).

From the negative points: the smartphone is called too minimalistic. It does not have a mini-jack, protection against water, and the speaker is only one, even without a stereo. People are also not sure about the “modular” system: Lenovo (Motorola) and Huawei have already tried it, and additional modules were not very useful.

Microsoft and BlackBerry, two powerful innovative companies, have in recent years been forced out of the phone business. Will Essential be able to give something that they could not?

Andy Rubin compares his company in the gadget market with Tesla in the car market, but so far it is unclear what is its feature, with the exception of stock Android.

What do you think, will it fly or not?

PS Essential is not being delivered to Russia yet - there is no notification from the FSB . Therefore, we cannot recommend it for purchase. But Banderol clients can freely order other gadgets from America - at prices a half to two times cheaper than Russian ones (for example, great discounts on Apple products, and here we sell for cheaper iPhone). By registering with this link , you will receive a 7% discount on the first delivery of any purchases from the United States. Check out the prices on NeweGG , B & H and Amazon , it's worth it.

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