Essential Project GEM

when Andy Rubin wanted to measure himself to Apple and Samsung

May 2017 was a month that gave us one of those vibrant moments that a new company was born with the illusion of measuring itself before the biggest firms of the moment in a segment as complicated, complex and demanding as it is on the telephone. And I did it with Andy Rubin, one of Android's parents, at the head.

With this, he had won, from the initial minute, one of the factors against which thousands of companies have to deal with and deserve them at the time of taking their first steps: exposure to a large public. So much so that Rubin's first act as brand ambassador was the same day of the announcement in an interview within the framework of the annual media event Recode led by the well-known journalist Walter Mossberg. It served to show its original product, a telephone, but also for much more: it was a whole declaration of intent that will never be fulfilled.

The company was Essential and last week, less than three years after that time, announced the cessation of its operations.

Essential Phone

One phone and two promises

The terminal with which the firm wanted to be known as a manufacturer of smart products was a smartphone. The Essential Phone. Simple, plain, concise and, in a way, innovative. Among its main points of attraction had a large screen that took advantage of the front surface, a notch before Apple popularized it massively with the iPhone X at the end of the same year, construction materials such as titanium and a connection system to be able to attach accessories to it and thus extend its possibilities as required by the moment.

It was very striking. As much as for Rubin to consider him a worthy rival of the iPhone and, throughout the almost sixty minutes of the interview, he alluded to Cupertino's technology several times. We told it in this medium in an article whose title did not take long to prove successful: "Welcome to the next mobile phone failure: Essential Phone".

But despite his compendium of good ideas on paper, the underlying problem was much greater. The idea that the manager sold at the time was to create a whole ecosystem of terminals that broke the established norms with Home at the head, a product for the home that will be compatible with iOS, Android or any other system or protocol that may exist. A hub looking similar to the later Echo Dot running inside Ambient OS, a completely new operating system.

"Users do not want products from a single company in their room. Everyone who is pursuing that strategy will fail."

A telephone, a home-centered terminal and a new operating system. If a large company finds it difficult to create an ecosystem of products with which its potential public feels identified, which manages to transfer and break preconceived schemes (for sample, Google), it is not necessary to put too much imagination to work for Understand the problem that Essential faced.

In relation to that Interoperability of Home and Ambient OS with other competing products, Mossberg asked Rubin in the aforementioned event what would happen if, for example, Apple "was not willing" to allow such access. "I will try," explained the interviewee. "I think I have to lead the way because the premise is that users do not want products from a single company in their room. Everyone who is pursuing that strategy will fail, because they are not meeting the needs of customers. I am creating a solution that satisfies the needs of customers. If they don't want to do it (join the proposal, Apple and the rest of the companies), it depends on them. "

Essential Home

Essential Home

"With Ambient OS, your home is the computer," you can read today on the brand's blog. "Ambient OS knows the physical design of your home, the people who live in it, the relevant services for both your home and the people inside it and the devices."

Neither the Essential Home nor Ambient OS finally came to market.

Add to phone; new promises

The reception of the Essential Phone, baptized as PH-1, proved to be certainly lukewarm in an industry that was not so open to receiving a new player, despite the possible benefits it could offer, as Rubin thought. To this we must add that the reviews and analysis of the terminal indicated a somewhat improved camera that was polished throughout the successive updates of the device software, which the firm has continued to send until the last day of Ferbero.

However, a camera that was somewhat lower than expected is no reason to sink a terminal. The reasons must be sought in another basket. What? The one of the distribution.