If you're an Android fan you surely know who Andy Rubin is. He co-founded Android Inc. before selling it to Google in 2005, then ran it inside the search giant until 2013, when he switched to new projects at the company. Rubin left Google in 2014, started a tech incubator called Playground Global, and also apparently has been working on a smartphone.
A new report surfaced today saying that Andy Rubin created a new company called Essential Products Inc., which will soon launch "a suite of consumer hardware products, including ones for the mobile and smart home", according to "people familiar with the matter". Essential has a 40-person team, and its registered trademark with the USPTO lists "smartphones, tablets, accessories, and computer operating software for mobile phones" as areas of focus.Andy Rubin next to the Android logo
The key product to come out of Essential will be a high-end smartphone. This will sport a large edge-to-edge bezelless screen, as well as "the ability to gain new hardware features over time". This modularity will work through a proprietary magnetic connector "that serves double duty for charging the battery and expanding the phone's functionality". It will enable third-party modules, but Essential itself is working on a spherical camera add-on that shoots high-res 360-degree photos.
At least one prototype of the phone has a bigger screen than Apple's 5.5" iPhone 7 Plus, but a smaller overall footprint because of its lack of bezels. The display could be pressure-sensitive like the ones in Apple's iPhones. As for materials used, the handset will have a metal frame and a ceramic back, thus sharing more than the bezelless display idea with the Xiaomi Mi Mix.
The device will allegedly be out in the middle of this year for a price close or identical to what Apple and Google charge for their iPhones and Pixels. Foxconn is reportedly in talks to build the new phone. Rubin pitched the device to US mobile carrier executives at CES. It's still unclear if the handset will run Android.