The cofounder of the Android operating system, Andy Rubin, is developing a new company and a “new kind of smartphone”. This smartphone is reportedly a premium device that has an edge-to-edge display and lacks a surrounding bezel. Rubin’s new company is called Essential, and he’s currently preparing to make a formal announcement and lead the startup as CEO.
According to an article by Bloomberg, Essential has several products in the work, including mobile devices and smart home gadgets. One of the devices is intended to be a high-end smartphone that will reportedly compete with Apple’s iPhone 7, Samsung’s Galaxy S7, the Google Pixel and other top-of-the-line devices. Rubin is aiming for a mid-2017 release window for the phone, and is reportedly already in talks with Foxconn to manufacture it.
The company has at least one prototype phone in development that has a larger display but smaller overall size than the iPhone 7 due to the fact that there’s no surrounding bezel. The company is also experimenting with with a “3D touch” feature which would allow the smartphone to detect varying levels of pressure on the touchscreen.
Rubin is working with a team of around 40 people largely consisting of former employees of Apple and Alphabet. Several trademarks have already been filed under Essential’s name, lending credence to the rumors that these phones are in development and have solidified features.
Rubin has been a big proponent of Artificial Intelligence and has made that field a major focus since his departure from Google in 2014. With rumors of smart home devices in development and a new high-end phone, it’s likely we’ll see his research and love for intelligent and helpful computers reflected in the products.