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Former Essential team to offer privacy-focused products in 2021

Software and hardware could both be on the cards but the focus will remain on privacy.

Published onNovember 17, 2020

  • Former Essential employees have founded a new startup.
  • OSOM is focused on giving users more control over their personal data.
  • The first software and hardware products are expected in late 2021.

After Essential officially shut down earlier this year, the company’s former employees have founded a new startup focused on privacy. Out of Sight, Out of Mind – or OSOM – wants to give users control over their personal data. The news first broke in September, with founder Jason Keats announcing the venture. Now, we have a better idea of what the company might offer its users.

Speaking to CNET, Keats didn’t explicitly call OSOM a smartphone maker. While the company now employs nine people, eight of which previously hail from Essential, OSOM isn’t planning to follow in the old company’s footsteps.

“Essential had 80% of a great idea,” Keats says. “But we needed to come up with what really brought that last 20% – a focus on something.” That something is seemingly a product companies usually garner from their consumers – data.

“It’s really about giving people a choice. Right now there’s no choice on who private information is shared with and how. We want consumers to own their privacy, own their data,” adds Keats.

Read more: Essential Phone review: Maximum hardware, minimum software

How does the startup plan to do this? Well, a strategy that melds hardware and software is seemingly on the cards. Per CNET‘s report, the firm may release as many as eight products to market within the next three years. When OSOM eventually debuts a smartphone, it’ll try to undercut the competition on price without sacrificing features.

“We’re not targeting our products to ultra premium users, but we are going to build premium products. We can make money doing that because of a couple other surprises up our sleeves that will be announced next year,” says Keats.

OSOM also hopes to partner with those suppliers previously involved with Essential. We can then expect its smartphones to bear the likes of Qualcomm chipsets and Sony camera sensors.

Whatever OSOM offers users, the company is adamant about giving users the choice of what data they want to share. “Everyone has something they want to keep private,” concludes Keats. This, it believes, will be the products’ key selling point.

At least the startup has plenty of time to write Essential’s wrongs. The first OSOM product is penned for a late 2021 launch.

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