Andy Rubin's Essential folds, ending its phone business

Essential is a smartphone company that was started up by Android co-founder Andy Rubin in 2017, and today, it was announced that the firm is shutting its doors. The first and only product that Essential made was the PH-1, and it was actually the first device to sport a notch.

Late last year, Essential announced Project GEM, which was an interesting combination of hardware and software that included an extraordinarily tall smartphone. With the new form factor, came different use cases and different user experiences. GEM never came to market, and part of today's announcement is that Essential realized that it has no way to move forward with it.

The company did win some praises for how well it supported the PH-1, especially given that it's just a startup. In many cases, it was the first to update its device to a new version of Android, after Google's first-party smartphones, of course. Unfortunately, the security update that was released earlier this month will be the final update.

If you use Newton Mail, that's also shutting down. You'll only have until April 30 to access the service.

There's still a bit of good news for Essential PH-1 owners though. There will be a prebuilt version of the vendor image hosted on GitHub, so you'll still be able to "keep hacking".

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