The Next Web

Andy Rubin, one of the co-creators of the Android operating system, may be about to announce his next big project following his departure from Google two years ago. A new report claims he plans to reveal his new company, Essential, in the very near future. Essential is rumored to be launching a high-end bezel-less smartphone to compete with Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus and Google’s own Pixel XL.

The story comes from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources. It says that Rubin will serve as CEO of Essential, which will at first have a 40-person team that is made up of former Apple and Google team members. The story claims that the company is actually working on a number of different hardware devices, for both mobile and smart home markets, with the idea of linking them all together in a single platform.

The story claims the flagship product of Essential will be a high-end smartphone with an edge-to-edge display, similar to the Xiaomi Mi MIX concept phone. The report also claims it will be able to gain new hardware features over time. The story says this support will come from the phone’s magnetic proprietary connector that will serve both as a battery charging port as well as a way for first and third-party hardware accessories to connect to this phone. This sounds similar to the Moto Mods made for the the Moto Z family of smartphones.

The report claims this phone might launch some time in the middle of 2017 and it will be priced around the same as the iPhone 7. Ironically, the report did not state if Rubin’s phone will use Android.

Rubin co-founded Android in 2003 and Google acquired the company in 2005 before officially launching the first version of the OS in 2008. Rubin remained with Google in its Android division until 2013, when he moved over to its robotics unit. In 2014, Rubin departed Google entirely and in 2015 he formed his own tech hardware incubator called Playground Global. Bloomberg said today that the incubator has raised a total of $300 million so far from a number of investors, including Google, HP and Foxconn, which might manufacture the new phone from Essential.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.
  • Modman

    Go Andy Rubin! We need someone to shake things up. here is someone who doesn’t get any credit. instead people praise crooks like jobs and cook. Without Andy Rubin there would be no LG Prada. without LG Prada no iPhone. If there was no android what companies could apple rob and take credit for?

    • RiTCHiE

      Sad fanboy. Its always funny that clowns like you need to bash apple rather then to talk bout apple and microsoft.

      • Modman

        Apple never created anything. Microsoft created tablets. Tim Cock is a Crook!!! he takes others ideas and takes credit for them.

        • RiTCHiE

          Wow, the fact that you had to reply 4 times kinda proves my point. Im not defending apple and im not a apple product owner but i did had a iphone long time ago when it was 1 of the first but you saying all those things are pretty retarded.

          If it wasn’t for apple there would be no android. If it wasn’t for apple there wouldn’t be such a huge app store on both platforms because apple showed how to create a ecosystem.

          Its just funny how you say that apple didn’t create anything but why do most phones these days look so much like them iphones software wise and hardware?

          Tim Cook is just a puppet and apple was all bout steve jobs but to bash apple like you do its just sad and you should be happy we have competition like that rather then to bash a brand.

          If you really need to bash a brand then go for microsoft because due to them nokia couldn’t make any androids and i dont know if you ever owned a lumia phone? But there you can clearly see how a good ecosystem can fail a whole department of a company due to the fact that it has great hardware, good OS but weak appstore so thats 1 of the reason nobody has a windows phone.

          • mark

            No it wasn’t one of the first – indeed, Apple fans at the time were saying how it was better for being new, and older systems were “legacy”. Well now IOS is the legacy system.

            If you knew anything about Andy Rubin, you’d know that Android development started in 2003, and Google bought it to continue development in 2006. It was intended as a Symbian replacement, and succeeded at replacing it as the dominant mobile platform.

            The only thing about Apple and applications is (a) the way IOS needed a proprietary executable just to access a website, and (b) the painful period where companies would only cater to the minority of Apple users. The fragmentation that Apple brought is not something to praise.

            Today’s phones look nothing like the Iphone introduced in 2007, but rather have followed the increased screen sizes and format introduced and popularised by companies like Samsung. Apple change their look almost every generation, so it’s unclear how you can say most phones look like them – which isn’t true any. I’m not sure how the software looks like them anyway (and Iphone with its icons looked like a more simplistic version of feature let alone smart phones that were already doing that years earlier).

            Sure competition is good, but wake me up when Apple fans are praising and talking positively about other companies because “competition is good”.

            Yes, it would be good if more software was available across more platforms. Apple did everything they could to prevent that.

          • RiTCHiE

            Here we go again. You sound pretty butt hurt and i dont know why but guess you own a samsung? First of all, the first iphone was bought by lots of people that where new to apple so stop saying it was the fans who said blablabla. 2nd, after the first iphone came out Andy Rubin redid the whole look and feel of the early android builds. And the fact that you cant even see that most phones look like a iphone rip off then its pretty sad. But not speaking bout hardware alone but software wise also if you look at most phones layout.

            Its funny because in the symbian ages the phones didn’t look anything liek this where all apps had the same shape icons. And apple showed the world how a good ecosystem looks like and that was 1 of the reason apple became that big.

            But to me its pretty sad that people bashes apple while they dont even own a apple product kinda shows they are so biased. Im pretty happy we have a company like apple and google, hell even microsoft. Competition is always good for the consumer. But people should get over this whole fanboyism and start showing respect or give a unbiased opinion rather then these ass kissers.

          • Modman

            Apple is fraud. just face it they copied everything they ever created.

          • RiTCHiE

            Whatever fanboy

          • Modman

            Apple created the Newton never brought it to market. Palm capitalized on the idea. Where are all these great innovations apple has brought us? copied the Prada iPhone. copied the Microsoft Toshiba tablet iPad. copied Napster iPod. copied lg gwatch apple watch. Removed head phone jacks. Wow what an innovation. your the one who’s butt hurt having to face the fact that your beloved apple is a thief and a copy cat. Are you are flipping stupid that you are willing to page a huge cost to buy their products and defend them.

          • MasterDoughBoy

            Not even close. Now go away idiot.

      • Modman

        iPad pro is an inferior copy of note pro because the male organ pen-cil need charging. those loser copy and make it worse. isnt the object to make it better.

      • Modman

        If calling Apple a spade and a fraud makes me a fanboy I’m proud to be one. You my friend are sadly uninformed and feeding the trolls.

      • Modman

        Microsoft,Samsung,Amazon cross licenses ideas and products. Apple tries to sue companies out if business. This is unethical and bad for consumers. But you blindly follow it and defend it.

      • ThatDude

        OK guys, time to clear some things up because you are only able to insult each other…
        Steve Jobs and Tim Cook did use others ideas as “inspiration” (you could kind of count that as copying but almost every company does that) but refined them in their way (not saying I like the way they try to make things “simpler”)
        As I already stated above, Apple didnt invent every feature of the iPhone, but instead just took all the great ideas from other companies and put it together to form iOS.

        “Its just funny how you say that apple didn’t create anything but why do most phones these days look so much like them iphones software wise and hardware?” I find it more funny that almost evry phone looks different but people like you just assume that every manufacturer copies designs and stuff. Just a quick question, how many phones look like iPhones? OK, there are some cheap clones and other not so popular phones and the HTC One A9. Oh, wait? Didn’t HTC have that design before the iPhone 6 came out? Right. So Apple was the ripoff in that case (I think they even tried to sue HTC but noticed that they might actually lose…). You could argue that the Pixel looks a bit like the iPhone, but if you actually see it in person it doesn’t look like an iPhone very much. (btw who designed the Pixel? HTC… so also not a ripoff) So I dont really get what you mean with iPhone ripoffs, correct me if I’m wrong.

        “The fragmentation that Apple brought is not something to praise.” Have you ever seen what Android is? That’s what I call fragmentation, even though I like Android more than iOS

        “Apple change their look almost every generation […]” iPhone 6, 6s, and 7? Where’s the difference? I can’t see it…

        “You sound pretty butt hurt […]” No he doesn’t?
        “[…] and i dont know why but guess you own a samsung?” DID YOU JUST ASSUME PHONE lol jk

        “And the fact that you cant even see that most phones look like a iphone rip off then its pretty sad.” I guess you’re the only one? I feel kind of sad for you…

        “But not speaking bout hardware alone but software wise also if you look at most phones layout.” Maybe iOS just look like android? I guess we will never know, exactly like we will never know if a zebra is white with black stripes or if it’s black with white stripes…

        “But people should get over this whole fanboyism and start showing respect or give a unbiased opinion rather then these ass kissers.” You sound butt hurt and like a fanboy when you talk, I’m sorry. Maybe I do too. But I don’t care, you do.

        “Apple is fraud. just face it they copied everything they ever created.” You want to give us any examples? I won’t believe a statement if it isn’t backed up by any examples. Feel free to add some.

        “Apple is fraud. just face it they copied everything they ever created.” So you want to keep the conversation going?

        “your the one who’s butt hurt having to face the fact that your beloved apple is a thief and a copy cat.” Bro, chill, no need to say shit like that. If Apple is a thief, every company is a thief. And does anyone call me a copycat if I see my friend doing something and I do it too? No, my friend just noticed the thing they were doing was a good idea and is happy that people (me) like it.

        “iPad pro is an inferior copy of note pro because the male organ pen-cil need charging. those loser copy and make it worse. isnt the object to make it better.” English???

        “If calling Apple a spade and a fraud makes me a fanboy I’m proud to be one. You my friend are sadly uninformed and feeding the trolls.” I guess you’re calling yourself a troll then. Awesome.

        If you’ve made it this far, great. Have a cookie. (Just to clarify, I used to love Apple and used iPhones, iPads and Macs, but have now been converted to the, in some cases more difficult to use Windows, that gives you way more control and heaps of programs. Viruses are a non-issue, I’ve been using Windows defender for about 3 years and haven’t had a virus because I just don’t visit sketchy pages like some other people do, I guess. And I use Android, OP3T, awesome phone, because Android just works better for me. I love the way how notifications work and even my friend, a long-term Apple fan has said that notifications are a bit shit on iOS)

        • ThatDude

          Oops, I guess I posted it at the wrong spot. Whatever.

        • RiTCHiE

          I never said that apple invented the mobile phone nut they sure did polished everything as a whole. Common look at the hardware of the first iphone that didnt even came with a flash so apple never was ground breaking but the iphone and ios made a new standard in smart phones. So before you come at me, do reread all what has been typed and you will see that i got love for both brand rather then that other dipshit that xan only speak good bout android

          • ThatDude

            Well, now you finally wrote the truth, but before you were just talking shit about every company except apple…

          • RiTCHiE

            Huh? Are you blind? I only talk shit about microsoft but not bout android or apple. Its time you read it all again.

    • MasterDoughBoy

      Wow. Another clueless idiot.

  • hamzah77

    I bet it will be as disappointing as the Nintendo switch

  • mark

    Surely it needs to be a huge bezel to compete with Pixel XL and especially Iphone … otherwise, there are plenty of phones in this size range with small bezels.

    It’ll still be good to see new devices. But it’ll be competing with lots of devices, not two.

  • John Doe

    Well you know that it will NOT be running iOS! lol

    • TechTonic

      😹 yah, hopefully AA figured that part by now

    • Ethan Campbell

      It could possibly run Sailfish or Windows, or maybe even Ubuntu, carrying on the legacy of the never released Ubuntu Edge. There are lots of OSs it can run. There was a Windows Mobile device which could run any OS you could think of, including Android, Windows Phone, Ubuntu, Windows 10 Mobile, Firefox OS, Windows NT, pretty much anything. People are still making ROMs for it.

  • Prime

    Since the Pixel was mostly designed by HTC, how about Google just makes this the next Pixel.

    • Dakoziol

      It was only manufactured by HTC. Google did all of the actual designing.

      • 468

        You wish… HTC has way more involvement in Bezel than “only manufacturing”

        • Dakoziol

          Source? That contradicts every artical that *I’ve read on the Pixel phones.

          And lol, what do I have to wish for? Your the one that holds a grudge against A PHONE for hell’s sake.

      • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

        That would explain why it’s so crappy.

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    It wouldn’t take much to make a Bezel XL killer. A few features would do it.

  • AndroidUser

    100% screen to body ratio!

    • TechTonic

      why stop there, real innovation would be if they made it 104.9℅ screen to body ratio!

  • Modman

    Leave Android Authority. You are not wanted here.

  • John Quincy Adams

    Let’s not go overboard, AA.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Good that you wrote only ‘iPhone and Pixel killer’ !(both lame phones)
    But not Galaxy S and Note ”killer”.
    Otherwise you would look ridiculous .

    • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

      Like I said below, all they have to do is offer some features and they’ve already got something better. The iPhone and Bezel XL are pretty much feature-free.

      • YaboyZavii

        Lmfao “Bezel XL” that made my morning. Can’t stand the bezels on that phone and anyone who defends that has a problem. UGLY!

        • Ethan Campbell

          I also think the bezel ruined it. If it had something useful, like a speaker, then I could consider it.

  • Anon

    So he’s making the Oneplus 4?

  • Simon Gillespie

    Rubin’s re-entry is timely now that Android has forced any other OS out of virtually all markets.

    When a new iPhone barely registers in the US (0.6℅ movement) we must conclude that Apple is the new blackberry. We see the UK market repeating the same pattern (loyal to bb long after other markets disserted it, the same now with iphone). Tim Cooks pay cut proves it.

    It seems only fair that the man who started the successful campaign against the iPhone should get to finish it off.

    We need to get used to a ‘whats an iPhone?’ world. Your kids will never know the iphone existed.

    • mark

      Though I don’t know about that last bit, people still remember betamax, zune and so on. Though it might end up like the Nintendo Wii u.

      • 468

        You can remember betamax, but I not even heard about it- this is the difference between “remember” and “know”…

        • Simon Gillespie

          The future of the iPhone is bleak. Price dumping in the UK is the kiss of death that sealed it for BB and is a sign of accountants playing the end game. If the Apple CFO is the best paid person in a product company like Apple you know something is terribly, terribly wrong. Spending all your money building an expensive HQ?? Where have we seen that before?

      • Simon Gillespie

        NWU ooh nasty ;-)

        5 years from now this will happen-

        *If* your kid is interested in geek history they will ask their Android phone virtual assistant about ‘before Android phones’. If they are really lucky they will be shown a tumbleweed web page (written by a die hard iPhone fan in ancient HTML 5).

        It will say something about a guy named Steve Jobs on 2007 launching a phone that had an OS similar to Android. There might even be a link to an iPhone emulator (on Google Play) which will allow people to ‘experience’ what it was like to not work very well with Gmail, to have an abysmal mapping system or a chat with a taciturn virtual called Siri. It will seem quaint and the child will probably laugh.

        Can’t happen you say? Look at what happened to the Commodore Amiga then. Its just history repeating. Like Steve Jobs turning in his grave these are the things that will pass.

  • PacoBell

    Huh, so Rubin seems to have joined the modular movement. That’s at least three companies now: Motorola, Nextpaq, and Essential. Just like monolithic Wi-Fi routers are giving way to distributed systems, so to will 2017 see the rise of modular or, at least, modifiable smartphone platforms.

  • The last time Apple made a good iPhone was the 3. At that point, there were no quality android alternatives. They were a pain to jailbreak and the spend so much time trying to stop people doing what they want to do with thier phones I’m surprised anyone buy them at all these days. There are some Android manufacturers that are starting to be just as bad mind you, but they took their cues from Apple.

    • mark

      Presumably you mean 3G? Though note at the time millions were happily on alternatives like Symbian, so Android’s immaturity at the time didn’t matter. It says it all that “3G” was the headline feature, something even feature phones had years earlier. Imo it wasn’t until 4 that Iphones barely qualified as smart phones (with extremely limited multitasking), and until 5 before they had all the basic features (e.g., maps and satnav as standard), by which time Android was well ahead.

      • Ya that’s what I mean, I’m not saying that they didn’t make improvements going forward, but the 3G was the best quality build on the market at the time. By the time the 4 hit the scene, Samsung and Nexus had started releasing beefier quality Android phones. It was an easy switch at that point. I know I had a couple hundred dollars in non-transferable iPhone apps which I gladly gave up for Android.

  • It would be nice to see someone other than Sammy grab a good chunk of the Android market share in the US.

  • Choda Boy

    I do not want a “bezel-less smartphone” if it makes it more fragile than it already is, especially with Samsung’s glass back.