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These would've been Essential's next phones if Andy Rubin didn't screw things up

Both phones, obviously, never made it to store shelves, but they were pretty far along in the design phase.

Published onMarch 19, 2020

essential ph 2 hero

Andy Rubin’s company Essential closed its doors for good recently after having released only one smartphone: the Essential Phone. We’ve only been able to speculate what the Essential Phone 2 would have looked like were it to be released, but now we have a pretty good idea, thanks to former company designer Kevin Hoffman.

In a post on his website (which is password locked for now, probably due to a spike in traffic), Hoffman shows off not only prototypes for the Essential Phone 2 but also some designs for what we’re going to call the Essential Phone 3. Luckily, 9to5Google got a glimpse at the post before it was locked away.

In a series of photos, we can see that the Essential Phone 2 would have looked very similar to the first Essential Phone, albeit with some extra curves, some extra rear sensors, and what appears to be a slightly smaller chin. Check out the images for yourself below:

Since there appears to be plenty of physical prototypes and the design is fairly consistent across the board, it appears the Essential Phone 2 was well on its way to being complete. In fact, Hoffman says in the post that the device was killed off — by Andy Rubin, no less — late in the development process in favor of focusing on smart home products.

Rubin didn’t want to give up entirely on smartphones, though, as the company still got to work on what we will call the Essential Phone 3. Unlike the Essential Phone 2, the PH-3 would have been more of a budget-minded device, retaining some of the premium features of the PH-1 but cutting some corners to keep costs down, a la the Google Pixel 3a.

Check out the prototype images as well as a bonus GIF below:

essential ph 3 5

I actually quite like the idea of incorporating the Essential black-and-white logo into the iPhone-esque camera module. At least that would have made the camera module design mean something other than just looking chunky and weird.

While what really happened at Essential is still a mystery, it’s clear that Andy Rubin’s inability to focus on one product — not to mention his checkered past at Google and Essential — were at least part of the downfall.

What do you think? Would you have purchased one of these devices? Do you like where Essential was going with the Essential Phone 2 and 3? Let us know in the comments!

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