Essential Phone, the first device from Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, has reached its end of life. The company announced, according to 9to5Google, that it is discontinuing the device. Droid Life was the first to spot that the Essential PH-1 has gone out of stock on the company’s website, and Essential confirmed that it has exhausted its inventory and won’t be making any more models. The announcement comes after multiple reports emerged that the company is abandoning its first smartphone to focus on other mobile products.
“We are sold out of Essential Phone on essential.com and won’t be adding any new inventory. We are now hard at work on our next mobile product and will continue to sell accessories and provide speedy software updates and customer support to our existing community,” the company said in a statement. Essential says it is working on its second mobile product, which could be the rumored smartphone with AI has the user interface and one that will answer emails and messages for you. The company is not directly confirming whether this second mobile product is a smartphone but that could be the case considering Rubin’s experience with Android and other investments.
Essential Phone was first showcased at Code Conference, and was dubbed as the most ambitious Android smartphone. However, it was delayed due to manufacturing issues and when it finally went on sale, most were disappointed with the experience. The software experience, which was as stock as that of Google, failed to nail the imaging experience, which led to critics terming the device fails to justify the retail price. Since then the Essential Phone has seen multiple discounts and dropped to as low as $250 (around Rs 17,500), making it a better value than OnePlus.
Essential has faced issues beyond product including poor sales and layoffs that followed the launch of the smartphone. One of the biggest misgivings came in the form of an early data breach and reports of sexual misconduct against Andy Rubin when he was still employed with Google. Bloomberg even reported that Essential shelved plans for Essential Phone 2, and the company might go under the hammer.
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While Essential’s struggles remains a big story of this year and the year before, the company also emerged as an unlikely champion in the software department. The company consistently issues updates days after Google pushed out software updates. At times, the Essential Phone got security patch before Google’s own Pixel lineup and it dropped Android 9 Pie just hours after Google made it official on August 7. It needs to be seen what Essential does next but in the meantime, it plans to offer accessories and continued product support to those who paid for the Essential Phone.