Essential Now Building New Phone, Report Says, With All the AI

Android co-founder Andy Rubin at the Wired Business Conference in 2017

Ex-Googler and the "Father of Android" Andy Rubin may have had a tough time past year facing a not-so-good response for the Essential Phone. It is an interesting development, as a report back in May had suggested that Essential was considering selling itself and cancelled the development of a new smartphone. After launching its first phone past year, the company has not yet announced its plan for the next device. The phone will have AI built-in to automatically get real-world tasks done for the user, including things like replying to texts, booking appointments, responding to emails, and more. This would have a smaller than standard screen, according to "people familiar with the plans" quoted by Bloomberg's very well-connected Mark Gurman, relying mainly on voice commands for a type of user interaction only possible in sci-fi movies prior to this product's development. Why have an extra device when you can use your phone to do exactly the same with an app? As a result, Essential expects to market the product as a complement to people's smartphones or as a phone for those who want to spend less time tethered to their screens. Essential may be working on a handset that doesn't follow the expected flagship expectations, as far as design goes. Using voice as the main input point not only presents privacy concerns, but it's also a technical challenge around voice recognition that even companies like Google are struggling to master.

By the time Essential made a decision to put the home-speaker project on hold, it had already lost key engineers working on the project amid disagreements over the prospects for launching such an ambitious device.

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Essential has a lot to worry about here if it does end up eventually releasing the product.

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