It would appear that Android co-founder and former Google executive Andy Rubin’s smartphone startup Essential is closing down. Following the commercial failure of their initial product and development of a new phone in Project GEM, the company that Rubin started to compete with the giants of the smartphone industry has reached the end of its rope and will be closing up shop.
Essential announced its closing and cancellation of further projects in a blog message on the Essential website posted on February 12, 2020. In the message, Essential claims the team has “taken Gem as far as it can go.”
“[We] regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers,” The Essential staff wrote. “Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.”
It would appear that not only is Essential shutting down, but Newton Mail will also be affected. Newton Mail is a cross platform email app developed by CloudMagic, who were acquired by Essential in 2019. CloudMagic also lent support and development to Essential’s Project GEM during their time under the company.
“Current Newton Mail users will have access to the service through April 30, 2020,” Essential warns. “As part of the company wind down, the security update for PH-1 released on February 3 is the last update from the Essential software team. Your PH-1 will continue to work but we will not be providing any additional updates or customer support.”
So it would appear that Essential will be closing down services on their phones in February, while Newton Mail services will cap off any and all Essential support in April 2020.
While Essential seemed like it could have some mileage, given Rubin’s work elsewhere at Android and Google, the company just never found footing. Meanwhile, Samsung just announced both the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip, Apple is working on more affordable iPhones, and Motorola has reintroduced the classic RAZR folding phone as a smartphone. As the giants have continued to move forward, Essential simply failed to keep pace. It’s unfortunate to see the Gem fail before it even launched, but other smartphone start-ups like Teracube’s economical and eco-friendly approach may serve to keep the baton moving forward in the wake of Essential’s closing.
[Featured image by Brian Ach/Getty Images]