Andy Rubin, creator of Android, has now confirmed that his startup Essential is not shutting down. In an email sent to his employees, Rubin clears the air around the future of Essential, and products made by the brand.
In the email, Rubin confirms that the firm is working with banks to get some financial assistance, and that the company might be sold under the financing deal. He also raised concerns about the content of the emails getting leaked since he believes that speculation could affect the environment in a which a good deal can be reached. However, he also insists that the time is not for complaining, and he will try to make a winning deal for the company.
Andy Rubin is considered as the father of Android, and is seen as the pioneer of the smartphone industry. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Rubin is exploring sale for his new startup Essential Products. The report added that Essential Products has canceled its next product, and is exploring an outright sale. The company is said to have hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on the potential sale, and has received at least one suitor.
Rubin launched his hardware startup in the form of Essential Products at Code Conference last year. The effort was seen as Rubin making a comeback to an ecosystem he helped co-create at Google. The Essential Phone PH-1, the first product from Rubin, was a futuristic device built using ceramic or titanium, and was the first commercial product to feature a notched display.
However, its camera was found to be lackluster, and most critics slammed it for high entry price. Essential Phone PH-1 launched at $699, and the company is estimated to have sold only 20,000 units. Since its launch, Essential has lowered the price by $200, and is estimated to have sold around 130,000 units with cheaper retail price. At the launch, Rubin showcased a 360-degree camera attachment that attached via modular pins, and detailed plans to launch several more accessories.
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However, the company has not introduced modular accessories, and has also not detailed plans for its smart home products. Essential has raised around $300 million in funding from Amazon Alexa Fund, Tencent Holdings and Redpoint Ventures in addition to initial $30 million from Rubin’s Playground Global incubator. The company was valued between $900 million and $1 billion around a year ago.
Bloomberg reports that the new owner of Essential Products continues to be in the hardware space, but might pivot from smartphone to smart home devices. However, Rubin does not detail the product-side future of his startup in the email addressed to employees.