Palo Alto Andy Rubin’s smartphone start-up Essential, which is considered the father of the Android mobile system, is giving up. Actually, the company wanted to launch an unusual new phone at the beginning of this year, only about half as wide as today’s smartphones. But you see no way to bring the device to the market, Essential explained in a blog entry on Thursday night.
The New York Times reported that none of the major US mobile operators showed interest in the essential phone called Gem.
Rubin was a co-founder of the startups Android, which developed an operating system for computer phones. Google bought the company in 2005. When Apple released its iPhone two years later, Google made Android the basis for a competing smartphone platform. The operating system is offered to manufacturers free of charge. The business model ensured that Android now has a market share of more than 80 percent in smartphone sales.
Rubin led the Android business until 2013 and left Google in 2014. After that, venture capital firm founded Playground and later Essential. His reputation was badly damaged when the New York Times wrote in 2018 that Rubin had been forced to leave Google after alleged sexual assault and received a compensation of $ 90 million.
The revelations contributed to protests by Google employees against corporate governance, where employees at multiple locations quit the job. Rubin denied the allegations and also the details of the severance payment.
Essential launched a premium smartphone in 2017 that was unsuccessful. Plans for a speaker and smart home platform have been dropped. Finally, the company had hopes for the Gem phone. It was intended as an alternative for a large smartphone in situations where you would rather take a more compact device with you. Several videos in the farewell blog entry show for the first time some functions of the narrow and elongated smartphone.
Essential has invested at least $ 50 million in the development of the device, the New York Times wrote. The company ended up with $ 30 million in the box – donors had invested $ 330 million in Essential over the years for a billion-dollar valuation.
Two years ago, Amazon, the supermarket group Walmart and several mobile phone providers showed interest in buying Essential, the newspaper reported. In the end, however, they would have lost interest, among other things because of the ruby controversy.
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