Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s new company Essential sent out a tweet yesterday that hints towards the impending reveal of their new AI-powered Android smartphone. Hardcore Android enthusiasts are likely to be familiar with the name “Andy Rubin”. Rubin co-founded Android before it was bought by Google back in 2005. Rubin then played a significant part in making Android the most popular mobile OS on the planet.
Since leaving Google in 2014, Rubin and his 40 people team at essential have been reportedly working on several AI-powered consumer devices. Undoubtedly, the device that people are looking forward to the most is their AI-powered smartphone competitor to the Apple iPhone, Google Pixel and Galaxy S8.
Keeping in line with the newest trends, the smartphone will reportedly feature an edge-to-edge bezel-less display with a 5.5 inch+ screen. Benchmark results spotted on GFXBench suggest the specs will be a 2.2 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 835, with 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB storage.
This would put it up there with the latest and greatest from the likes of Samsung and Apple in terms of performance. The screen resolution is listed at 1312×2560, giving it a unique aspect ratio like the Galaxy S8, but wider instead of taller. The phone will also use high-end materials, with metal edges and possibly a ceramic back. It has been confirmed that the phone will be running Android Nougat out of the box.
However, by far the most eye-catching feature was the circular bump at the top of the phone in a teaser image. It is widely believed to be a high-resolution 360-degree camera attachment. This makes sense, as Rubin hinted that Essential might be working on some kind of wide angle camera lens on Twitter last month. This also factors into the other unique selling point of the smartphone – modularity. Essential have reportedly developed a proprietary connector that allows for expanded phone functionality over time. This would allow third parties and Essential to creating hardware accessories that will enhance functionality. The 360-degree camera might well be a separate module that connects to the Essential smartphone via a proprietary magnetic connector.
Another notable feature is the smartphone’s focus on AI. At a Bloomberg Technology conference, Rubin talked about changing technology platforms, and how he believed that AI was going to be the next big thing. It is abundantly clear that Essential’s new smartphone is a supremely ambitious undertaking. However, with Rubin’s vast experience and expertise, along with the cadre of former Google, Samsung and Apple employees now working under him, Essential may just pull it off.