It hasn’t really been much of a secret that Andy Rubin wants to get back into the smartphone market after leaving Google a few years ago. After helping to kickstart Android as a viable smartphone OS, he hung around Google for a couple years working with automation, but eventually departed completely to do his own thing.
Fast forward a bit, and it turns out Andy Rubin’s own thing was to build up a company to compete with Google directly. He’s been recruiting talent from big players like Alphabet and Apple and is planning on announcing his new company soon, called Essential, but this company won’t just be another addition to an already saturated market. Instead, Rubin wants to create a smartphone that’s a centerpiece of AI and automation in your home life.
It’s pretty bold to try and launch a company with a platform instead of a product, but if anyone can pull it off, Rubin is definitely on that short list.
The phone itself was actually shown off behind closed doors at CES and is rumored to sport a large screen with practically no bezel, and will more than likely hit the segment of the market where Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel are fighting for space. If you’re going to tackle AI and automation, you have to do it at the high end, not the budget level.
The phone itself is still in a prototype stage, so don’t expect it anytime soon. But as we move further into 2017, expect to hear new things from Rubin and Essential.