​Android creator Andy Rubin launches his modular Essential phone

A new take on the modular phone with clip-on components, starting at $699.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: See all the details for the new Essential Phone

Source: ZDNet

Ex-Googler and Android creator Andy Rubin has unveiled the Essential Phone, offering a new take on the modular phone with clip-on components.

The phone, which Essential teased last week, will be available initially in the US for $699. It's offering the phone with its clip-on 360-degree camera for an introductory price of $749. Normally the pair will cost $898.

The Essential has a number of unique features. First, the 5.7-inch display reaches both side edges and the top of the device, minus a gap for the centrally located front camera. The only sign of a bezel is a strip at the bottom of the phone. The QHD display is at a 2,560 x 1,312 screen resolution at 503 pixels per inch.

See also: Essential, Andy Rubin aim to simplify smartphone game: Why some skepticism is warranted

The handset will ship with Android Nougat version 7.1.1 and runs on Qualcomm's top-line Snapdragon 835 processor. It also comes with 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, and a 3040mAh battery. The built-in cameras include a 13-megapixel main sensor and eight-megapixel front sensor. It also features fingerprint reader on the back.


The 360-degree camera connects to the phone via two pins.

Image: Essential

The phone is 141.5mm tall, 71.1mm wide, and 7.88mm thick (5.57 inches, 2.8 inches, 0.31 inches). It weighs under 185 grams (11.1oz).

Unlike the iPhone and Samsung's aluminum frames, the Essential's body is made of titanium and ceramic, which the company says is more resistant to damage than rivals under drop tests.

The two accessories available so far include the 360-degree camera and a charging dock. They both click together via a magnetic connector with wireless data transfer on the rear.

The 360-degree camera receives power from the phone via two pins. It features dual 12-megapixel sensors and four microphones for 3D audio recording.

Essential has also launched the Essential Home, a personal assistant and home speaker designed to work with security cameras, music systems, and smart light bulbs. It runs on what Essential calls the Ambient operating system.

According to Rubin, the Essential was built around a few core values, including a promise of no bloatware.

The Essential phone from every angle (Gallery)

"Devices are your personal property. We won't force you to have anything on them you don't want to have," says Rubin in a blogpost.

In a nod to its modular design, Essential believes devices shouldn't need to be replaced every year.

And to prove devices are the owner's property, it's even skipped adding a company logo to the device.

The phone will be available in black, grey, white, and dark green or "ocean depths".

The Essential phone is available to reserve today for consumers in the US. Essential hasn't announced general purchase data or international availability yet.

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