The Essential smartphone, the brainchild of Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, launched Thursday (Aug. 17).
In a blog post announcing the launch of the mobile phone that is aimed at taking on Apple and Samsung, Rubin said that, although the company is “up against industry giants that employ tens of thousands of workers to develop and deploy smartphones around the world,” it is focused solely on the consumer. According to Rubin, with companies that are large creating a customer-first experience often gets pushed to the back burner, and that is where Essential comes in. “Our 100-person team is made up of people who believe in putting the best experience for you above all else. That’s why we’re working around the clock to create products designed to fit your life — never the other way around — with the spirit of American innovation and craftsmanship imbued in every part we design,” Rubin wrote.
Rubin pointed out that there is no branding on the Essential Phone and a limited number of preloaded apps and no duplicative services. The company is also embracing open ecosystems, arguing that closed ones are “divisive” and “outdated.” “Every year, like clockwork, manufacturers make ‘design tweaks’ and launch new features and products that work well if you choose to stay in their ecosystem. You buy their phone, TV, speaker and fridge with the promise of simplicity, but more and more often, this is a way to force loyalty. At Essential, it’s our goal to be the bridge between all these different ecosystems so you can pick and choose the products and services that work best for you, no matter who makes them,” he said. The Essential phone will get Android OS updates for two years and monthly security updates for three years so that consumers don’t have to worry their phones are not secured or won’t have the latest features on them. The phones come standard with 128GB of storage and include future-proof technology so the device can evolve with the consumer. The phone is priced at $699, and for a limited time, users can get an Essential phone and Essential 360 Camera as a bundle for $749. The phone is available at the company’s website, Sprint and Best Buy.