Essential's Next Phone Will Be A Wildly Different, AI-Powered Companion

Donna Miller
October 12, 2018

Andy Rubin's beleaguered phone startup Essential is rumored to be working on a phone that is anything but your standard flagship.

On top of that, the device is reportedly being designed as a companion gadget that works together with a traditional smartphone instead trying to serve as a full-on replacement for most people. Meanwhile, the company is said to have abandoned the development of a regular smartphone "because the product is too similar to others on the market" and "sales of an earlier phone were disappointing". The phone will have AI built-in to automatically get real-world tasks done for the user, including things like replying to texts, booking appointments, responding to emails, and more.

As a result, it would apparently have a smaller screen than most smartphones, since you won't need to directly interact with it as much, and numerous interactions that you do have would be voice-based.

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Previously there were reports about the company working on its second smartphone as well as a smart home speaker. You'll also be able to use it to make calls, says Bloomberg.

If this all sounds a bit like the sci-fi movie "Her", that's sort of by design. Although Essential is yet to confirm any of the aforementioned speculations, Rubin did drop a hint about such a device past year in an interview with Bloomberg. "I think I can solve part of the addictive behavior". Rubin imagined it as a single hub with its own voice-command technology that could run queries through Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant - a feat that would likely require cooperation from three competitors.

Essential has a lot to worry about here if it does end up eventually releasing the product.

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