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We know next to nothing about the images you’re about to see — except that they don’t look like any phone we’ve ever seen before, and that they come from Andy Rubin, the controversial mobile industry executive who co-founded Android, left Google amid allegations of sexual misconduct while retaining a huge severance package, and went on to create the Essential Phone. (He also co-created the T-Mobile Sidekick, aka Danger Hiptop, many years ago.)
The photos appear to show an elongated phone with a very, very tall UI composed of card-like apps, but with big buttons that look like they’d be perfectly at home on a smartwatch. It look extremely small in his hands, too, and seems like it’s meant to be gripped around the middle, with a large button and fingerprint divot around back, below what appears to be a single main camera.
And as you can see, these devices have some decidedly flashy finishes that change color when you view them at different angles — a sea green that shifts to yellow and blue, for example.
It’s not yet clear if this is an Essential device or even just one of Rubin’s side projects that he’s funding — he runs an incubator, Playground Global, alongside Essential.
An Essential spokesperson tells The Verge it does have a new device in progress, though: “We’ve been working on a new device that’s now in early testing with our team outside the lab. We look forward to sharing more in the near future.”
The original Essential Phone was known for its flashy design, though, including a sea green color with gold accents known as Ocean Depths.And in late 2018, Bloomberg reported that Essential was working on a phone with a smaller screen that’d be controlled mostly through voice commands, with an AI assistant automatically performing tasks for you. In December, Essential all but confirmed it was working on a second phone.
Perhaps this is that phone. We’re trying to learn more now.
While you wait, perhaps you’d like to know more about that robot dog that’s lurking in the background of Rubin’s snapshots? That’s the Boston Dynamics Spot — from a company that Andy Rubin helped Google temporarily purchase back in 2013, by the way — and we’ve got an awesome video about Spot that you can watch below.