The father of Android, Andy Rubin, is currently kicking the tires on a new smartphone company named Essential. Rubin teased the company's first device on Monday, posting an image to Twitter and noting that he's "really excited about how this is shaping up" and is "eager to get it in more people's hands."
Little is known about the new smartphone just yet, but the image is rather telling. It appears to have an edge-to-edge that spans almost the entire front of the device. Samsung is expected to offer a similar screen on the Galaxy S8, which it will announce next week, and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) may adopt similar technology for the iPhone 8.
Speaking of Apple, Cupertino may have been to blame for SoftBank's decision to pull as much as $100 million in funding from Essential. That news surfaced last week, amid rumors that Apple may have strong-armed SoftBank (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 9984.T-JP) to pull out from backing Rubin's fledgling firm.
Essential may shake up the smartphone industry and could potentially give Samsung and Apple their first real competitor -- at least when it comes to taking away market share. Industry vets, including Jason Mackenzie, who served as HTC's global vice president before departing HTC in January, will be Essential's head of sales. Brian Wallace, who worked at Magic Leap, Samsung and Google, will serve as head of marketing. Jason Keats, who served as the lead architect on the iPad and as a senior product designer at Apple, is on board as the head of product architecture.
Rubin's tweet suggests that the company is nearing a final unveiling and, likely shortly thereafter, a major launch. Rubin would be wise to get this out the door after the Galaxy S8 hits the market sometime in April and before Apple introduces the iPhone 8 in September.
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