Essential Announces Shutdown, Will No Longer Support the PH-1

Furqan Shahid

Back when Andy Rubin started Essential in 2015, we were surprised and looking forward to what the company had to offer. After all, it was a project by one of the co-founders of Android. The company was aiming to make phones simple and straightforward, by removing a lot of unnecessary features.

Essential Shuts Down, Won't Provide Any More Updates

The company released the Essential PH-1, a barebone phone that had an interesting concept. Although the phone received a lukewarm response, it was a step in the right direction. After the initial release, the company went silent until they showed another concept phone that looked promising.

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The new announcement did show a silver-lining but in a surprising turn of events, Essential just posted an update on their website that they are shutting down the company and will not be providing any more updates for the PH-1 either.

Below is a snippet from the official statement.

In October, we introduced Project GEM, a new mobile experience that our hardware, software and cloud teams have been building and testing for the past few years. Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.

Additionally, the company has also shed light on what is to become of the PH-1; the only phone ever released by Essential.

As part of the company wind down, the security update for PH-1 released on February 3 is the last update from the Essential software team. Your PH-1 will continue to work but we will not be providing any additional updates or customer support. Current Newton Mail users will have access to the service through April 30, 2020. For developer fans, a prebuilt of our vendor image and everything else needed to keep hacking on PH-1 will be hosted on our github.

The sudden shutdown seems like a very strange move by the company. However, we are waiting for more information as this news develops.


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