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.