Despite its positive reception among the tech community, Android creator Andy Rubin's Essential Phone failed to take the smartphone world by storm with lacklustre sales, at best. However, the successor to it may be quite the departure from current phones, if a new report is to be believed.
Bloomberg is reporting that Essential is planning to follow up on the Essential Phone with a device that is highly augmented by AI. Unlike the trend of ever-growing screens on modern smartphones, Essential is supposedly planning on shipping this mystery device with a relatively small screen, with the aim of prioritising voice interactions to control the device.
That's not where Essential's AI ambitions end, though. Rubin's purported plans for the device include it being able to autonomously reply to emails and messages or even book appointments without any user interaction, essentially acting as a virtual proxy for you.
The AI capabilities of the phone would need to be beyond anything we've seen in the consumer market as a result. And there would still be concerns over privacy as the phone would necessarily need to have access to your writing style, for example, in order to be able to mimic you. There's also the question of whether an AI assistant could actually be able to make decisions on its own. Should it RSVP to that email invite to Thanksgiving at grandma's or shouldn't it?
If the company is able to nail the execution of what obviously sounds like a major technical hurdle, though, it could bring to market something that is in a category of its own.
In order to do so, the company has cut back on almost all of its other projects, reports Bloomberg, and work on a planned home speaker, for example, has been stopped. Rubin is planning on having a prototype of the ambitious device ready by the end of the year, and may even be looking to show it off at CES in January.