2018 did not prove to be kind to Android creator and Essential founder Andy Rubin. His PH-1 phone faced price drops and fire sales before finally being discontinued. The PH-1 is no longer available on the Essential store, and the company has confirmed that it won’t be restocking the device. The product is also not available on Amazon. After deep discounts over the holiday season, the product has run short course and December marked the end of its journey in the smartphone world.
In an interview, the company made its status clear:
“We are sold out of Essential Phone on essential.com and won’t be adding any new inventory. We are now hard at work on our next mobile product and will continue to sell accessories and provide speedy software updates and customer support to our existing community.”
Essential’s PH-1 came out in late 2017 but didn’t make much of a splash despite having good qualities. Though small improvements in the camera and other component tweaks could have made it a lot better, the company pulled the plug.
Rumors of the phone being discontinued began as soon as the company stopped supplying it to major stores like Amazon and Best Buy. Now, anyone interested in getting their hands on this phone will have to find it on the second-hand market where Essential owners will no-doubt be liquidating their devices.
The company has assured its current customers that it is not going to stop providing security and software updates for the model. Users can still update the Android software on PH-1s.
Now people are speculating that the company will soon be sold. However, the company announced that it is coming up with a new product and will be putting all its resources into bringing a new AI-enabled phone to market.
This new product will be using AI to handle the everyday tasks, including responding to messages on the user’s behalf. In an interview, the company hinted at the design of the new AI phone saying:
“The design of the new mobile device isn’t like a standard smartphone. It would have a small screen and require users to interact mainly using voice commands, in concert with Essential’s artificial-intelligence software. The idea is for the product to book appointments or respond to emails and text messages on its own, according to the people familiar with the plans. Users would also be able to make phone calls from the planned device.”
This statement validates a statement Andy Rubin made a year ago:
“If I can get to the point where your phone is a virtual version of you, you can be off enjoying your life, having that dinner, without touching your phone, and you can trust your phone to do things on your behalf. I think I can solve part of the addictive behavior.”
We’re looking forward to seeing how Essential’s newest product goes over.
What do you think about the possibility of an AI phone? Do you think Essential is the right company to produce it?