This is a sad ending to a company that roared into the limelight in 2017 with the PH-1 that offered vanilla Android, a titanium body and an impressive software update support system for a 3 year old phone.
Android founder Andy Rubin is closing down his smartphone startup Essential, despite teasing a new product only a few months ago.
"Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people's lifestyle needs", the company said in a statement. Today, Essential revealed that it is cancelling the Project GEM project and also shutting down the whole company. Another device dubbed Project GEM was in the works, one with a freaky form factor that looked like nothing else on the market, but Essential says it has "no clear path to deliver it to customers".
The Essential Phone received lukewarm reviews when it launched with most of the negativity directed at its camera. It had a "radically different" form factor: a thin, long design half the width of phablets with the length of an average phone - but given its narrow profile, made it look like at TV remote. All throughout the phone's life, its updates remained in lock-step with the Pixels, but the February update from last week will be the final one for the PH-1.
Essential also appears to be shutting down CloudMagic, the maker behind Newton Mail, which it acquired in December 2018.
The Essential Phone (PH-1) will continue to function, but it will be up to developers and the Essential community to continue to support the device. The company said current Newton Mail users will have access to the service until April 30, 2020. Developers who want to keep working on the device can check Github, where prebuilt vendor images and "everything else needed to keep hacking on PH-1" will be hosted.