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Creator of Android Andy Rubin Nears His Comeback, Complete With an 'Essential' Phone (bloomberg.com) 77

From a report on Bloomberg: Rubin, creator of the Android operating system, is planning to marry his background in software with artificial intelligence in a risky business: consumer hardware. Armed with about a 40-person team, filled with recruits from Apple and Google, Rubin is preparing to announce a new company called Essential and serve as its Chief Executive Officer, according to people familiar with the matter. A platform company designed to tie multiple devices together, Essential is working on a suite of consumer hardware products, including ones for the mobile and smart home markets, one of the people said. The centerpiece of the system is a high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Rubin discussed the smartphone with mobile carrier executives, including some from Sprint Corp., people familiar with the talks said. The smartphone, according to the report, would go on sale around the middle of this year and will cost nearly as much as iPhone 7 ($649, off contract).
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Creator of Android Andy Rubin Nears His Comeback, Complete With an 'Essential' Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:26PM (#53662603)

    This project will be dead within a year.

    This guy parachutes into the middle of the most competitive market in the world, where manufacturers do everything short of killing someone (well... there's Samsung, but I don't think it was intentional) to gain market share, and hopes to take over just because he "made Android"?

    Completely delusional.

    And he's already arriving late. Alexa is the top dog in home assistants, and many other manufacturers are already moving into the space (HTC, Samsung, Apple, etc).

    This guy doesn't have a chance.

    • Having the same "Alexa" in your home, on your phone, and on your computer would be nice. Right now, you can not do that. I think this is exactly what he is trying to fix...
      • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

        But there's no need to make a phone to do that. Make an app that runs on each platform.

        • But there's no need to make a phone to do that. Make an app that runs on each platform.

          Let them dream the dream. Own it all. Hardware. Software. Airwaves. User data. Anything less is a failure.

          Why can't I watch Amazon Instant Video on my Android phone?

    • by jcr ( 53032 )

      This project will be dead within a year.

      Perhaps. It depends on his ability to attract suckers to risk their money.

      hopes to take over just because he "made Android"?

      Yeah, having a half-assed knock off as the main entry on one's resume isn't very promising, is it?

      -jcr

  • "It's unclear if the devices will run on software based on Android".

    Either it's gonna run Android and be swimming in a sea of Android phones, or it's gonna run something else and be dead on arrival.

  • slashdot is going wild with this 'sponsored' content disguised as ads. I made it through beta and the general decline over the last few years, but this is a whole new level of annoyance.
  • by nwaack ( 3482871 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:27PM (#53662613)

    Me: Essential, unlock the front door and let me in.

    Essential smart home: I'm sorry, I can't do that.

    Me: Why not? It's freezing out here!

    Essential smart home: My sensors detect you've gained some after-Christmas weight. I'm not letting you inside until you go for a nice long walk. No need to thank me for improving your life...that's what I'm here for.

  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:31PM (#53662635)

    The article talked about their phone have a large screen with no bezel, edge to edge. Am I the only one that thinks that is not desirable? Surely too much of anything is not a good thing. I already have troubles on some phones with small bezels with my fingers activating things on the screen while holding the phone. I'm not a two-thumb person (don't really understand how people can actually use two thumbs at once to type out messages on an onscreen keyboard... I can't do it); I hold the phone in one hand and use my finger of the other hand. The lack of bezel makes this a lot harder!

    I just shake my head at where phones are going these days. Super thin and awkward seems to be the destination. No wonder AI is going to be so important in the future to help us use these things!

    • There's two possible solutions to the problem: thicker bezels, or software that's better at identifying accidental brushes of the side of your hand.

      Seems to be the second option is the better one. And if that happens- why not have a bigger screen on a smaller phone?

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      I hold the phone in one hand and use my finger of the other hand.

      A fun game of "spot the Apple user" =)

      The rest of us use Swype, SwiftKey, or use the stock Android that follows the same entry method at those. I haven't tap-typed since 2010.

      • iPhones can use the swype, swiftkey and 100 other keyboards too.

        • by Pascoea ( 968200 )
          For about 2 years, or so. (iOS8) Prior to that it was only available by jailbreaking.
      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        I TouchPal shrunk and centered, I can't find any other keyboard that allows that, but it's still annoying because it keeps wanting to jump to one of the edges.

        Also, my phone has a top and bottom area. I wouldn't mind losing the top area, but the bottom has a little bit of space for a physical button (no, it's not an iPhone), and that space also lets me type comfortably.

        I wouldn't mind full left, I right, and top screen, but the bottom is very helpful, and I really wish there was a keyboard that locked to 75

      • Are you suggesting that GP is 'holding it wrong'?

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        Umm, nope. Not even close. I have been swiping since the beginning. Still don't understand how people use thumbs though. I swipe with my finger.

        By the way, Google's keyboard is getting worse and worse at finding the correct word to match my swipe. About ready to switch back to Swype.

        • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

          Yeah, just giving you some crap. Haha.

          And I would agree, Google's keyboard isn't that good. The others still have issues. My biggest frustration is I'll swipe a word in, it'll be WAY wrong, to the point that the other suggestions aren't close either. Delete the word, re-swipe, and it'll put the same damn word on there. You'd think that would make it into the logic somewhere: "If user just delete this word don't put it up as the next word".

          • by caseih ( 160668 )

            Yeah for sure. I've often thought that as well. At least Google does allow you to remove suggestions now. Part of Google's problem comes from having such a large dictionary full of colloquial words and names that I'll never use.

      • by GNious ( 953874 )

        Haven't tried any of those - they any good?
        Typing out words lets me make sure that some "intelligent software" doesn't try to wrongly guess what I'm typing, and constantly requiring me to change dictionary depending on what language I'm using - if things got beyond the stage of constant obstruction, I'd be willing to give it a go.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Added bonus: typing out words doesn't require using an app that's effectively a keylogger that must talk to remote servers in order to function.

  • by trevc ( 1471197 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @03:33PM (#53662657)
    DOA but he'll probably make off with some investors money while others loose their shirts. This is what it is about these days.
  • Why not simply wait for the announce ?

    I don't see Slashdot as a place overflowing with excitable kids. I may be wrong.

  • This is what Microsoft does. This guy doesn't have a chance.
  • It's a crowded market.

    Give me a WebOS phone with a real keyboard, and I'll be happy to wait in line all night for it.

    (I don't even care about the lack of third party apps. Well, except for the crap HP pulled when they hobbled the Google Maps app, and replaced it with Bing Maps.)

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      It's a crowded market.

      Give me a WebOS phone with a real keyboard, and I'll be happy to wait in line all night for it.

      (I don't even care about the lack of third party apps. Well, except for the crap HP pulled when they hobbled the Google Maps app, and replaced it with Bing Maps.)

      Sure, but allow me to get off your lawn first

    • webOS? Talk to LG about that; they won't even ship their own OS on phones.

      In the meantime, there's LuneOS [pivotce.com], which is crying out for developers to port it to YOUR smartphone.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This guy's phones used to be thick, robust and a reasonable size ( 4.5" ) and lots of people liked that size 'cos it fit safely in their back trouser pocket and could be sat upon without breaking.

    But now every $%^&ing sheep of a manufacturer makes enormous, thin, fragile phablets that don't fit anywhere.

    And now he's going to break the mould by making ... another thin phablet.

    I hope they all break.
    Well, I don't have to hope.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday January 13, 2017 @05:03PM (#53663221)
    If it has a headphone port and a large battery it might have a chance.
    • Nah, only if the large battery is removable, and it also has an SD slot, a CD drive, and a SCSI port.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...who doesn't give a damn about a bezel-less screen and would like to see battery life improvements, or anything more useful than this big-screen crap ?

  • It's a small tablet with a phone functionality added on. Will someone please make a phone size phone without penalizing the buyer by removing features (looking at you Apple!).

    • Just out of curiosity, which Apple phone penalizes the buyer by removing features? Other than the iPhone 7 and the missing headphone jack, obviously.

      • The Plus models have better cameras at the very least. The SE is missing a number of features including touch support. I would like Apple to bring out a set of phones that all have the same features and the only difference between them is the screen size.

        Right now I'm using the 5s because I won't upgrade to the SE as I consider it to be crippled due to all of the missing features. The only reason for excluding features are marketing and not technological. I want the smaller phone because I need to use it

  • "The centerpiece of the system is a high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel."

    Oh my GOD!! A phone without a bezel! I must buy one IMMEDIATELY!!!!

    Suck it, all you outdated "phone-with-bezel" peasants!!

  • Fair play. Not an easy mission but...
    There's plenty of scope for disruption!

    I for one am pretty lacking in what I look for in a phone.

    The market is not serving me in the following areas:
    - user replaceable batteries and generally making a land rover phone future proof
    - branded dependability with the likes of cyanogenmod that allows me to choose hardware freely
    - headphone jack
    - privacy capable hardware on which hackers can build solutions upon
    - yet despite being accessible, you can still use stuff like (but n

  • seriously. they do essential with better quality audio. the new huge screens galaxy whatevers seriously lack here due to amplifier on same chip as cpu? i dunno but sound quality is a factor for me.

This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.

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