Essential Phone is the new project from Andy Rubin, the man responsible for developing Android.
Essential, Rubin’s new company, unveiled its first smartphone alongside an Amazon Echo-like device and a new operating system called “Ambient”. The three were revealed online and all that Essential is providing at this point is renders.
The first thing to notice from the renders — again, these are company supplied graphics not independent product shots — is the impressive edge-to-edge screen and tiny bezel. The design is really quite striking. The screen starts at the top of the 5.6-inch device, leaving a small space for the front camera, rolling down to the bottom with just a tiny gap.
The screen is a blend of titanium and ceramic which, Essential asserts, makes it stronger than those offered by Apple and Samsung.
The device will ship with a Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of on-device storage, according to the Essential website. The front-facing camera has an eight megapixel sensor and is capable of recording 4K video, while the rear camera is 13-megapixel with a second monochrome sensor to help boost low-light shots. That’s a departure from a secondary lens for bokeh-style images as Apple has done with the iPhone 7 Plus.
In addition, as previously hinted at, the device will include a 360 degree camera that can be clipped on the device to enable a whole different kind of phone-based photography. Oh, and there’s no headphone jack but the device will ship with a dongle.
On the software-side, Essential hasn’t released details yet so we can only speculate that, in line with the device’s simple yet powerful approach, it’ll be a minimalist affair that doesn’t force bloatware on its users.
The $699 price tag, however, is official, and it could make the device a very interesting option. Although carrier distribution is a key make-or-break fact for hitting serious volume with U.S. released smartphones, the Essential Phone is sure to provoke curiosity among smartphone purists. There’s no word on availability, but the U.S. will be the first market for sales.