Essential Products, the smartphone startup founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, is slashing its workforce by around 30 percent.
Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported the workforce reductions are happening in its hardware, marketing and sales units. The company has around 120 employees, noted Bloomberg. The layoffs come a few months after Essential Products gave up on plans to launch a second iteration of its smartphone and halted development of a smart device that was aimed at stealing business from the likes of Amazon and Google. “This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers,” an Essential spokeswoman wrote in an email to Bloomberg. “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game-changing consumer product.”
Essential Products’ smartphone hit the markets last year, making it the first with an all-screen appearance, but failed to take off in part because of its high price tag and because of kinks with its software, reported Bloomberg. The report noted it has $300 million in investments and that it spent around $100 million developing the initial products. In August of 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported investors of Essential Products included Tencent, the Chinese internet company, and Amazon via its Alexa fund. Best Buy and Amazon announced at the time that they would become retail partners for the company in the U.S., reported the Wall Street Journal. The phone has a price point of $699. Bloomberg noted that Essential Products put itself up for sale earlier in 2018 and is now if gearing up to roll out another phone which will have a smaller screen and respond automatically to messages on behalf of the user, noted the report.