Essential Phone maker cancels next smartphone, may put company up for sale

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in General Discussion
Essential, the electronics maker co-founded by Android originator Andy Rubin, is reportedly canceling the development of a follow-up to the Essential Phone and considering selling itself.

Essential Phone


The company has hired Credit Suisse to provide advice on a potential sale, and has received attention from at least one potential buyer, Bloomberg sources said. Any deal would allegedly involve all of Essential's assets, including patents, workers, and unreleased devices such as an upcoming smarthome product.

The company is said to be shifting resources to focus on the smarthome product, due to launch by 2019.

Rubin, unusually, responded to rumors on Twitter.

"We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits," he wrote. "We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products."

Essential arrived last year to great fanfare, with $300 million in investments from firms like Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn, its manufacturing partner and also the assembly partner for Apple's iPhone. Over $100 million of that has been spent on developing the company's first products, the Bloomberg sources claimed.

The Android-based Essential Phone beat Apple's iPhone X to the punch in delivering an edge-to-edge display with a "notch," but has sold poorly compared to expectations. As few as 20,000 units may have been sold at the phone's original $699 price, and even after a $200 price cut, sales may not be much higher than 150,000, the sources said.

In the meantime the company has reportedly lost "dozens" of engineers, and top-level executives like hardware engineering head Joe Tate.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,963member
    And another one bites the dust....
    darelrexMuntzStrangeDaysbshankcornchipjony0jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 69
    Maybe they will change the name to Irrelevant.
    darelrexMuntzSpamSandwichfrantisekslprescottStrangeDaysolscornchipjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 69


    aw diddums
  • Reply 4 of 69
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,963member
    The problem with that phone...the notch wasn't large enough!
    darelrexMuntzfranklinjackconStrangeDaysrossb2cornchipjony0flashfan207watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 69
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,923member
    Probably could get the company for a warm 6-pack.
    darelrexMuntzSpamSandwichcornchipflashfan207
  • Reply 6 of 69
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    Rubin’s reputation must be in tatters by now, eh? Who wants to bet whatever he does next, the media will hail him as a genius and “company X” had better watch out!
    edited May 2018 randominternetpersonjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 69
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    “Bigger hits”.

    what could be a bigger hit than a total failure? It’s really hard to say.
    SpamSandwichrandominternetpersonfrantisekroundaboutnowolsjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 69
    FolioFolio Posts: 630member
    Maybe they will change the name to Irrelevant.
    or at least InEssential
    radarthekatfrantisekStrangeDayscornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 69
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,373member
    You don't say...
    SpamSandwichcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 69
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,130moderator
    Two edge to edge phones, each with a notch.  The first one out the gate sold 20,000 copies at $699.  What could possibly have given the other company confidence to ramp manufacturing of its $999 phone into the millions?  What made them so sure they’d sell that many at an even higher price than the similar phone that was clearly not selling in any reasonable volumes?

    Could it be that it’s, in fact, not actually reasonable to compare these two phones based upon these two visible aspects?  That the more important aspects might be, oh, say, the operating system, the ecosystem, the trust of the brand, the global distribution channels available to each (one of these two companies owns 500+ stores and has tens of thousands of authorized resellers, the other has neither), the complimentary products and cross-product synchronization, etc.  Apple is not an easy competitor to go up against, and yet each new upstart is heralded by the press as the next Apple killer, with none of these factors addrsssed in their suppositions.  Lesson for history.  
    slprescottStrangeDaystmayStevenSterkfirelockjony0jbdragonflashfan207watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 69
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,483member
    Maybe ZTE wants to buy? I hear they are making a comeback.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 69
    I never did understand what the point of his company was. I guess neither did anyone else. 

    "I'm so confident about my next product I might just sell the company!  Cheap!"
    frantiseksflocalSpamSandwichtmayjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 69
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,540member
    Totally unpredictable...
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 69
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    Maybe they will change the name to Irrelevant.
    Points. 🙌
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 69
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    Honestly, for the timeframe, Rubin put out an exceptional product.

    He didn’t gauge the market well for a quality Android phone for 2017, but his ability to engineer a device and bring it to market is impressive in its own right.

    Maybe his next venture will be a market success.
    rossb2cornchip
  • Reply 16 of 69
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,523member
    Published this in 2011...  Same old, same old -- still applies today:


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 69
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,130moderator
    Soli said:
    Honestly, for the timeframe, Rubin put out an exceptional product.

    He didn’t gauge the market well for a quality Android phone for 2017, but his ability to engineer a device and bring it to market is impressive in its own right.

    Maybe his next venture will be a market success.
    I don’t know... there are only hundreds of companies printing out their own brands of Android phone.  How hard could it be?  And yes, hundreds.  Hard to believe there could be that many brands of Android, but I recall an article a couple years back that linked to a live chart breaking out all the something like 1300 different brands.  

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/android-fragmentation-there-are-now-24000-devices-from-1300-brands/
    edited May 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 69
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    The Essential news... the Samsung verdict news... Apple’s last quarterly earnings report... amazing AAPL still remains under $200.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 69
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,935member
    Soli said:
    Honestly, for the timeframe, Rubin put out an exceptional product.

    He didn’t gauge the market well for a quality Android phone for 2017, but his ability to engineer a device and bring it to market is impressive in its own right.

    Maybe his next venture will be a market success.
    The problem with his "exceptional" product is that he was selling it into the Android OS device market, as if he had another choice. Even with his "exceptional" design, the "Essential" phone wasn't differentiated enough from all other premium Android OS devices, and certainly, Google likely had the same problem with it's Pixel 2, which only sold an estimated 4 million units for the year. It isn't possible to command the same premiums in the Android OS market as it is for Apple to command in the iPhone market.
    edited May 2018 rossb2radarthekatcornchipjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 69
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    Soli said:
    Honestly, for the timeframe, Rubin put out an exceptional product.

    He didn’t gauge the market well for a quality Android phone for 2017, but his ability to engineer a device and bring it to market is impressive in its own right.

    Maybe his next venture will be a market success.
    I don’t know... there are only hundreds of companies printing out their own brands of Android phone.  How hard could it be?  And yes, hundreds.  Hard to believe there could be that many brands of Android, but I recall an article a couple years back that linked to a live chart breaking out all the something like 1300 different brands.  

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/android-fragmentation-there-are-now-24000-devices-from-1300-brands/
    “How hard could it be”? Do you apply that to Apple, too, or can you see that a product category can range from barely functional to outstanding in terms of engineering?

    I bet the range of cost and engineering for bicycles at Walmart is fairly wide, while at the same time stil all being at the low end of the market of what is aviable. I’s Assume they have cheap steel bikes with no gears to some aluminum frames with some cheap name-brand gears, but not a single bike made of CF or tested in a wind tunnel.


    Here's a cheap ZTE smartphone and the Essential Phone's motherboards. Can you really not see a difference in engineering?



    edited May 2018
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