Video: Andy Rubin's Essential Phone: modular, tough, and no logo.
Essential, the smartphone from Android creator Andy Rubin, will not be making an Essential Phone 2, according to a report.
Bloomberg reports that Essential is in early-stage talks to sell the company after having spent $100m, roughly a third of the funds it's raised, developing the Essential Phone PH1 and its 360-degree attachable camera module.
The Essential Phone went on sale in August several weeks behind schedule and in a much more competitive market than if it had launched on time. But the phone ultimately didn't live up to expectations, given its reasonable price and the involvement of Rubin, the creator of the world's most popular OS.
While praised for its design, most reviewers found the built-in camera poor and not up to par with other high-end smartphones. Essential cut the $700 price to $500 two months later after launch. The company has sold 150,000 Essential phones to date, according to Bloomberg.
Essential was developing a second phone but it's now canceled those plans in favor of a new smart-home product, possibly a speaker, scheduled for release next year.
Rubin responded to the report on Twitter, appearing to confirm that the next phone has been canceled.
"We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits. We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products," he wrote.
Rubin gave employees an update on the situation in an email obtained by The Information, telling them that "no one (including me at this moment) knows what the best thing for the company will be".
Essential was working with bankers to raise money and an acquisition might be part of those talks, he wrote.
Previous and related coverage
Android co-founder Andy Rubin has launched Essential and a smartphone that aims to put design and craftsmanship first with simplicity. It's a tall order.
A new take on the modular phone with clip-on components, starting at $699.
The Essential Phone was a tough sell at $699, but at $499 it is compelling. It offers flagship specs with lots of potential, but there is some risk in a startup launching its first phone.
There is a lot of potential in the Essential Phone and it is honestly a fantastic piece of hardware with a stock Android experience. Sales must not be going well for such a drastic price drop so quickly though.