Inventor of Android OS Unveils Smartphone

Reviews say Essential Phone 'looks incredible' but isn't a game changer
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2017 2:54 PM CDT
Andy Rubin, the inventor of the Android operating system, just released his first smartphone.   (AP Photo/Google)

(Newser) – The man who created the Android operating system unveiled a brand new smartphone Tuesday to compete with Apple and Samsung, Business Insider reports. Andy Rubin's Essential Phone—Essential is his new company—will sell for $699 and only in the US to start. It has a massive screen that takes up nearly the entire front of the phone, wrapping around the selfie camera. It has a larger screen than the iPhone 7 Plus, 128GB of internal storage, and magnetic connectors to attach accessories. Here's what you need to know:

  • Wired, which has more on Rubin's journey from Android to Essential, calls the Essential Phone (it has no branding) the "anti-iPhone." Rubin believes Apple no longer has the ability to create devices that seem brand new; Essential can take that mantle.
  • But if that's the case, Vox would have to classify the Essential Phone a failure: "One of the smartphone industry’s greatest innovators set out to reinvent the smartphone and found that there just wasn’t that much room for improvement."
  • Rubin promises to do a few things different with the Essential Phone than Apple does with the iPhone, namely staying away from "planned obsolescence" and not forcing customers to have stuff on their phone they don't want, Recode reports.
  • Phone Arena compares the Essential Phone to its top competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, the LG G6, and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
  • The Essential Phone "looks incredible"—and it promises to be more durable than its competition because it's made of ceramic and titanium instead of aluminum—but there's little reason to believe it will have better luck than any other phone not made by Samsung or Apple, according to the Verge.
  • CNET reports the Essential Phone also has a few drawbacks, such as its lack of headphone jack and water resistance.
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