New company Essential Products announced its debut products today, including a modular titanium smartphone with an edge-to-edge display and an Amazon Echo competitor. Andy Rubin, the founder of Essential and the original creator of the Android OS platform, announced the devices ahead of a talk he is scheduled to give later on Tuesday at the Code Conference.

The company's logo-free Essential Phone features a 5.71-inch edge-to-edge QHD display that reaches all the way to the top of the phone and runs around the 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The unique design is in contrast to Samsung's Galaxy S8, which retains a minimal bezel to house the camera and associated components.

ph 1 color black moon copy 1000x1000
The phone is constructed from titanium and ceramic, allowing it to survive a drop test "without blemish, unlike the aluminum competitor devices," the company claims. Apart from the fingerprint sensor and camera lenses, the rear of the device also features a modular accessory system that works via a pair of magnetic pins.

Initially, the "Click" cordless connector pins will hook up to the company's 360-degree camera and phone dock, with more modular products planned that Essential promises will "keep your phone cord-free, future-proof, and always up-to-date". A USB-C connector at the bottom of the phone provides the only other connectivity; no headphone jack is included.

The Essential Phone is powered by a Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and has 128GB of storage, while its 13-megapixel rear-mounted dual lens camera includes a monochrome sensor and supports 4K at 30 frames per second. The phone runs some form of Android, but the company promises no extraneous software is pre-installed. Available in black, grey, white, and "Ocean Depths" colors, the phone will launch in the U.S. later this summer and cost $699.

pz5s5zb3
Onto the company's new Amazon Echo competitor, the Essential Home. Details are still scant on the product, but here's what we know. The intelligent assistant device has a relatively inconspicuous puck-like shape with a sloping top that's dominated by a round touchscreen, which allows users to control music, ask general interest questions, set times, and control lights. It can be activated with a question, a tap, or even a "glance", according to Essential, suggesting some form of face detection.

The Essential Home will run the company's open platform Ambient OS, allowing it to interface with existing smart home products as well as SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest, and other popular standards. The intelligent assistant will also support notifications and reminders with contextual information displayed on-screen. Processing of user data is said to remain local to the device wherever possible. Pricing is yet to be announced, but the Essential Home is expected to ship later this summer.

Wired today published a write-up of Rubin's new Essential venture that provides some interesting background on the company. You can read the article here.

Top Rated Comments

JaySoul Avatar
74 months ago
It's interesting and wish them all the best.

Doubt many people will buy it but it's always good when a company comes with fresh ideas.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
74 months ago
Looks like Google Pixel, with modules and un-symmetric bezels. (don't like that chin)
4GB RAM is questionable for such price and year. (oneplus 5 is gonna be 6-8 GB)
Your thumb will rest on volume up button and not on power, this design is straight out of chinese phones, hate it too.
Android phones need 6-8GB RAM? Why?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
74 months ago
If you see a fingerprint sensor on the back, they blew it.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
74 months ago
More impressed by the echo competitor than the phone. Makes me wonder though where we go with smart phones once we've gone completely bezel free. I guess just spec bumps year after year? I guess it had to happen eventually, but for me the enthusiasm I once had for following this sector is fading fast and I don't think even Apple can pull something magical out of the bag anymore. I really hope I'm wrong though.
Think less in terms of specs, and more in terms of what role your smartphone can play in your life.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mascots Avatar
74 months ago
This makes Amazon's attempt at a voice assistant with a screen look just down right sad.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
usamaah Avatar
74 months ago
Looks like Google Pixel, with modules and un-symmetric bezels. (don't like that chin)
4GB RAM is questionable for such price and year. (oneplus 5 is gonna be 6-8 GB)
Your thumb will rest on volume up button and not on power, this design is straight out of chinese phones, hate it too.
I think 4GB is enough if the software is close to "stock" Android. Samsung phones typically need tons of RAM because they have so many useless services running in the background.

If you see a fingerprint sensor on the back, they blew it.
Yeah, totally. /s

Android phones need 6-8GB RAM? Why?
None need it, but some benefit from it because they're trying to do so much. Samsung phones typically have tons of extra services running and they eat up RAM. As Android O introduces picture in picture to all phones, I imagine having more RAM will be nice. But more RAM does need power to run, and so I do wish these companies would balance things a bit better.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...