Devices > Emerging Devices Blog

From Essential to Nothing

by Neil Mawston | Feb 16, 2021

As you may recall, former Android co-founder, Andy Rubin, once launched his Essential smartphone to crazy hype in the US way back in 2017.

Essential Phone was a 4G titanium handset with a camera notch that was going to crush Apple iPhone and Samsung Note. Only it didn't. It flopped badly, due to overpricing, as we outlined here a few years ago.

By 2018, Essential was all but gone, and it finally wound down in 2020.

Fast-forward to early 2021, and news outlets this week are reporting Essential's brand, patents and ownership have been transferred (in a UK deal) to Carl Pei, co-founder of Chinese phonemaker OnePlus.

Mr Pei now runs Nothing Technologies, a curiously named tech firm (backed by Google Ventures) that is planning TWS earbuds and perhaps a 5G smartphone for Europe or Asia before 2022. Presumably, Essential will give Nothing a good war-chest of techs, IPR or patents for Western markets in the coming decade.

For now, Nothing is nothing. But Essential could make it something.

Let's call it "OnePlus 2.0".

Stay tuned.

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