Bottom line: The team said that its most recent security update for the PH-1, pushed out on February 3, will be the last. Devices will continue to work but no additional customer support or updates will be provided.
Essential Products, the technology company created by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, is shutting down.
Most suspected that Rubin’s start-up wasn’t long for this world when its debut device, the Essential smartphone, flopped. The company reportedly sold less than 90,000 units in the first six months, prompting a massive round of layoffs in late 2018.
Still, the start-up persisted and back in October, announced a new phone with a very unusual form factor.
Project Gem was the company’s vision to “invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs.” Despite its best efforts, the Essential team said on Wednesday, they have taken it as far as possible and have no clear path to deliver it to consumers. As a result, a decision was made to cease operations and shut down the company.
Project Gem more resembled a touchscreen TV remote than a smartphone with a tall, narrow body that was unlike anything we’d previously seen in a modern smartphone. You have to applaud the company for trying something different but really, it’s hard to see what Essential hoped to accomplish here with such an unusual form factor.