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Essential Phone Will Ship Next Week, Shortly After Breaking $1 Billion Valuation ( 88

New submitter writes: Andy Rubin's Essential Phone will be released next week according to 9to5Google, just shy from its initial June mark. The company has been speculated to be worth around $1.2 billion, after giant Foxconn filed yesterday for a 0.25% acquisition at around $3 million -- clearing unicorn status as it hasn't shipped a single unit at the time. According to Engadget, future and existing pre-orders will have a chance to switch to the Pure White version of the slab, despite initial shipments being scheduled to be of the Black Moon variety. Essential's storefront orders will get the device unlocked, while the only parties offering the device will initially be Sprint. Rumor has it Amazon plans to sell the device as it invested in the company through its Alexa fund. No matter the contract attached, it will come with the full range of network capabilities unlocked.
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Essential Phone Will Ship Next Week, Shortly After Breaking $1 Billion Valuation

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  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:22PM (#55030653) Homepage Journal

    Halo phones were good enough in 2013 with the advent of the Nexus 4, I don't see a whole lot of improvements over this compared to the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 was so good that the Nexus 5x was a bit of a downgrade, and now my Pixel... well i still don't like it as much as the Nexus 5.
    Maybe I'm getting too old, but the only reason I buy a new halo phone is because my old halo phone died a horrible death or was stolen.
    Who are they marketing to? Is it the 20-something group? There's no brand on this, and the brand, if it were branded is so small nobody will have heard of it to be impressed. Or you can buy an existing Halo Phone like a samsung or an apple and get a great phone.... I have yet to see a phone released in a couple of years that won't do everything from snapchat to games to netflix. The Moto G4 I had while I was waiting for my Pixel to arrive (after the 5X did the bootloop thing over Christmas) feels just as fast as the Pixel, and it's less slippery to hold.
    Other than the quality of the camera, I just don't see the point of buying a halo phone anymore. It's just not worth it. It's like, what brand socks do you wear? Do you care? Are your feet warm and dry, or not? It's hard to tell from minute to minute exactly how warm your feet are under normal circumstances. Will it text, call, facebook and netflix? Ok, great. I don't care who makes it or what it's made out of as long as the battery will last until morning for my alarm to go off.

    • People use their phones hours a day. If they hold on to them for a couple years, which is normal, they come out to maybe $1/day.

      So why not? It's a minor expense, and while cheap phones may be decent, there is a quality difference. Even if they're really not much better, why cheap out on something you use all the time and isn't that expensive in the first place?

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:54PM (#55030855) Homepage Journal

        Unless you're in the Northeast, $600 will buy you a ticket to anywhere in central america, anywhere in the northern half of south america, and most of southeast asia. If you're on the east coast, you can sometimes fly to Spain for that.
        If there's a 2% noticeable difference between the $150 phone, and the $650 phone, is that $500 difference going to be worth the opportunity cost of traveling somewhere new and interesting for a weekend? Or getting that cavity filled? Sending your kids to summer camp for two weeks? Maybe you're 23 with a college degree, no responsibilities and unlimited disposable income, but that's a boat payment for me. I have hobbies and uses for $500. A phone is a phone, and the quality difference is almost impossible to tell the difference; my pixel next to my moto G4 requires knowledge of which one has a textured power button. Don't let marketing delude you.

        • 23 year olds don't come to Slashdot. It's all old white men with established careers, and $1/day really isn't much to me. I make that much in about a minute.

          That said, of course for a hypothetically small quality difference, even $1/day is too much money. I don't think the difference is that small yet - if I'm taking pictures of my kids, I want something that looks good, not just OK.

          If you're one of those old men who just wants to make phone calls, sure just get whatever's cheapest.

          • ...if I'm taking pictures of my kids, I want something that looks good, not just OK.

            Then get a cheap phone and spend the rest of the money on a camera with a good lens. dpreview 2017 compact enthusiast round-up [] is probably a good place to start for things that will fit in your pocket and still take great pictures. Here are some side-by-side examples by what admittedly looks like a probably camera-biased site smartphone vs camera []

            • Funny you say that, because recently dpreview had an article that high-end smartphones are good enough to replace SLR cameras for most users []. I do have an SLR camera, but that becomes an issue of, sometimes you would rather have a capable swiss army knife in your pocket than lug around an 18 knife set plus a can opener.

              • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
                that makes no sense. Back in the day there were cheap point-and-click cameras, and then there were SLR. The film (analogue to "resolution" or MP) was the same, but the stuff that brought the image to the film (sensors) was different. There's nothing you can do electronically that reproduces real depth of field - a single lens pointed directly onto a sensor a millimeter away can' lots of things, no matter what software filter tricks you try.
                • The difference here is those cheap point-and-click cameras only took photos. They did not do the dozens of things a smartphone can do. So if you are going to carry around a device that can only take photos, you may as well get a good one. If however you are already carrying around something that can also take decent photos, why spend the money to also carry something that can only take photos?
                  • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

                    For less than a high-end smartphone, though, you can probably get a digital camera that will last you 10 years. That smartphone needs to be replaced every 2 years - if only to get security updates.

                    What's needed is a new class of digital cameras that are as good as (or better than) the ones in high-end smartphones and have basic uploading capabilities - maybe just the ability to NFC sync to the smartphone in your pocket. Then you have the nice convenient form factor in a device that you don't have to repla

                    • Pretty sure the powershot series has wifi support, and some of those are under $100.

                      Ok, not sub $100, but the Powershot S120 [] has been out for a while and it has wifi support.

                  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
                    it's a single lens resting on a sensor. You can't get non-flat pictures with that. Ever. You can't get things that look real. You can try, with digital tricks, but in the There's no reason to have better and better sensors on the stupid phones. It would be like putting $5000 wheels on a honda civic - the sensor has not been the limiting factor for the "quality" of the pictures in a long while. I mean for fark's sake, with dozens and dozens of major phone options, can you even name a single
          • by Anonymous Coward

            This per-day calculation is just stupid feel-goodism.
            Why not calculate it per microsecond? It will be even less.
            Per month would at least make sense because you get paid and pay lots of other things per day, so it can be compared.
            Or you could say it's about $30000 a lifetime, in case you REALLY care to see what you could get instead.
            That said, I still bought a LG G4 because I wanted a better camera that I have always with me. But if it wasn't for the camera, I recently realized how good a sub $100 (90 Euro,

        • But they don't last a "couple" years. My first Android was an Acer that didn't even make it to a year. 6mths board shot, then repair Depot lost it. Moved to Samsung, Every Samsung I owned died at 14mths. I owned 3, all did same thing. Mind you my Nexus did 3 years. And my Nexus 5x is closing in on 2 years and my $80 BLU is around a year. You're paying for the name, that BLU phone is every bit as good as any Samshit on the market. Plz don't complain they "come with viruses" it took about 4 minutes to remove
          • I'd really like to see a study on the reliability of different smartphone brands/models.
            I've personally been pretty lucky with Samsung and by my friends know that if you buy cheap chinese phones they will often break in a few months.
            I've heard bad stories about LGs.
            Of course YMMV
    • So I must be out of it. I'm assuming from context that a Halo phone is a flagship smartphone. Is this a new term or one you just made up?

    • You're old, but you're probably comfortable financially. Why skimp on a phone, something that you presumably use many times per day? Get whatever you think the best phone is. I'm fairly frugal overall, but not on things I use often. I don't have a cheap phone or a cheap mattress, but my car is more than ten years old because I don't need to drive more than once or twice per week.
    • My N4's digitizer just stopped working properly one day. I never got it wet and I dropped it probably an order of magnitude less than my Moto G 2nd, which is still chugging on. Death to LG.

    • Who are they marketing to? Is it the 20-something group?

      I think it's more like 20-something group plus the teens. In my extended family and the circle of friends, most of whom have good education and jobs to be able to afford halo phones, I am seeing people sticking to their old phones for something like 3 years. On the other hand, for some reason, the high school kids who are manning the cash counters at the grocery stores or who are clerks at my gym often working for the minimum wage usually boast the la

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why would I want one, over any other phone out there? I can only think of one way to get me on board.

    If it avoids the data-harvesting of Google (must have NO google apps nor connection t Play Store!!) and also avoids the control-freakism and lock-in of the Apple ecosystem, then maybe I can consider.

    Also should have uSD and user replacable batttery.

    Otherwise, not an improvement on my present phone, sorry. You have to bring something new and valuable to the table. then I buy.

  • $1b in value (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:36PM (#55030737)
    Haven't sold a single thing. Rofl. World has gone fucking insane.
    • Remind me to sell a micro-percent of my shares to my best friends for $1000 USD so I can beat their valuation.

      • exactly my thoughts when I read it. I bet a purchase, by none other than their obvious principal manufacturing partner, is just part of some side-deal where purchasing that stock was the best way to dodge taxation. And get the valuation hype as a perk xD

    • Haven't sold a single thing. Rofl. World has gone fucking insane.

      Mate the Middle East is now considered more stable than the US

  • Rubin should have built the google phone that he was backing when there. Basically, it IS possible to make a phone out of components, but, Rubin approached it wrong. Really too bad. In the end, I think that Android will lose out simply because overseas will decide to no longer carry android, even on the phones sold here. And at that time, it will be too late.
    • The phone design looks horrible to me and the widgets like the 360 degree camera are lame as heck.

      People forget that Rubin's original Android OS design sucked donkey balls and that Android phones back then looked a lot different than what they do today. It took quite a lot of iterations before Android got decent. I wonder if Rubin still has however fixed his design still around to clean this shit up.

  • Hmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:21PM (#55031033)
    The stated philosophy of no crapware is all well and good, but let's see what I can google for specs. Hmm. Screen is not amoled. Fingerprint sensor on the damn back. No audio jack. No microsd. Not waterproof. Seven hundred bucks. Not to be nasty, but a lack of crapware on a crap phone is not much of a selling point.
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ( 3412475 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:43PM (#55031751)

      I see your point, but marketability and appeal for phones doesn't have to catter only to your specific needs on a phone. Dropping the AMOLED and a microSD tells me you're in the Samsung bandwagon, which I can understand (not relate) having used the previous 2 Galaxys as my personal device for 3 years now, continuously. But it has actually been scientifically and practically proven that AMOLED is not better - not in battery, not in color accurate representation, and contrast is a pet peeve when basically most use a phone gets is around bright environments. It's personal preference, and for Samsung it's actually financial preference as it's what they invest in. I'm sure the sense of ownership kicks in while watching movies in your dark bedroom, when black screens pop up and everything gets pitch-black, and looking at your iridescently dark phone when screen is off face up on a table. but that's really it. I've learned the latest and greatest LCDs perform MUCH better in the sun which is where I need my phone.

      Now, microSD is a bummer but who carries around more than half an hour of 4k content let alone an entire library of TV shows and/or FLAC. People don't have the time to consume or film a ~100GB sinkhole. They don't even have the time to wait for 100GB-orders of magnitude transfers with UHC-2 at 150MBs theoretycal (which is what most would get unless they're dirty rich). What people have is a latent sense of insecurity for non-expansion, yet completely neglect UFS 2.1 is a godsend. It's like having range anxiety on a 2.3s 0-60 Model S - it's pathological. Google knew their shyt when they pitched cloud storage would be the future for entertainment media, they were just a little too early with their push back in the Nexus 4 and now everybody got a piece of the pie while we geeks all cry for "expansionism" (no pun intended).

      When I look at this phone I see an updated, improved Mi Mix that actually gets the attention it deserves from its manufacturer (in this case for obvious reasons: it's their only device). I see a beautifully design titanium build, a material which has pretty much been neglected by everyone other OEM for cost; I see an actually usable accessory paradigm - simple, cheap('ish); I see a screen that doesn't use a stupid form factor that will suit nothing but your own damn useless OS modifications (*wink wink* S8). And that doesn't need to be LCD to wow me.

      I also see Apple price tags on a newcomer - rookie mistake really (but they are already riding the hype in the seed funding market, it's only a small jump to consumers); like the S8, an underwhelming amount of RAM for a 2017 flagship - big NO-NO, clearly based on too much trust in system-based management by none other than the OS creator. This is a mistake everybody else seems to make but OnePlus I might add - I mean, is ram that costly or is it really so hard to understand Java is a HUGE memory hog and garbage collection really sucks because most app devs simply can't cope with day-to-day use usage patterns. This won't improve with time, trust me, Android rarely gets better on RAM management in magnitudes that have visible effects?

      And obviously I see no analog jack, but if you're the type to walk around with audiophile-priced and/or sized headphones, a super-duper small USB-C adapter isn't a problem - it's not like it's a Macbook Pro needing 3 of 4 of those at once because "MOST MY HARDWARE IS JUST FINE WITH USB non-C". It's one small dongle, which is gonna be used either once per year or 24/7 and never detach from it's peripheral cable. And in different ways that Apple sells their jack-less world, I actually believe there IS a future for a "last-link" analog conversion strategy, where audio is continually digital until it reaches the very electronics that reverberate analogically to your eardrums, but it will take its time to come like all audio technologies do (Atmos anyone?). Audio quality is a speculative commodity - it is only worth as much as the people whose ears you trust brag about it, and when you take a plunge it's mu

      • Amoled for me is about reading, yes in a darkened room. Reading white text on a black background for four hours straight makes amoled non-optional.

        I am very much NOT in any Samsung products. I hate their guts. Blocking cases with their lameassed curved screens, flooding their phone bodies with glue, Bixby...just everything about Bixby. Spyware televisions. My Note 4 is the last Samsung phone I plan to own.

        The shell materials? Ceramic can describe anything from flower pots to shuttle reentry tiles. It's a

        • (didn't came as hostile ^_^ I hope my long post didn't either. Internet these days will take any tongue-in-cheek as offense which is kind of a lost art clearly lost in the transition from the real world - quite a shame for light-hearted talkers like me)

          OLED is tantalizing, everybody gets it. The guys at GSMArena had this to say 7 years ago in their GS1 review []: "...And the majestic Super OLED display is a great reason on its own to buy the Galaxy. Be warned though, you're unlikely to ever go back to TFT agai

          • For many activities I won't argue that amoled is nothing valuable. When one is out and about checking messages and consulting websites for product reviews, what's the point? For long term media consumption, especially of text, it's a balm for the eyes. I tried out an iphone 6+ for a while, but reading on that thing...I went right back to my Note 4.

            I loved that fingerprint sensor though. Being able to unlock financial apps with a touch was delightful, and is a highly desirable feature for me now. Maybe place

      • Cloud? Yeah, why would I have my data locally on a fast MicroSD card, usable where there's no network access for free when I could pay a cloud provider for the privilege of renting some storage and which if I used would kill my data cap in hours?
        I just can't understand how some people can't see how useful plentiful local storage is. You may not need it but MicroSds are useful for many people.
        • I do see the advantages, I just think that with high-speed 128GB, sometimes even 256GB being standard in flagship devices, and most of the media consumption, by a large sum being streaming these days (even on mobile plans), it stops making sense to expect microSD. Embedded components just have an undeniable speed advantage. MicroSD availability gained nice to have status in my book along the years and I believe it did for most too.

          I have experienced first-hand the availability and use of a microSD yet speed

      • It doesn't matter which phone you come from, the lack of a uSD slot and a headphone jack are both shit, and if you are making defences for them you should probably think about putting down the corporate cock (maybe even take it out of your mouth) before posting.

        • I'm not making a case for anyone but me, but hey, logic seems to be out of stock on that keyboard so I'm gonna proudly agree that we have different opinions and leave it at that. Send my regards to Nelson Mandela back there in stuck-in-2013-vile.

    • > Fingerprint sensor on the damn back.

      For me, that's the best place for a fingerprint sensor. I massively perfer the Nexus 5x back sensor to the various iPhone front sensors I have used.

      I think this comes down to personal usage style. My friend uses his phone on the desk/table. He prefers the front sensor. I use my phone in my hand - the back sensor is much more comfortable for me.

    • Screen is not amoled.

      Amoled screens are terrible for battery life under pretty much all usage scenarios except for watching movies 24/7.

      Fingerprint sensor on the damn back.

      That's where it _should_ be. That's perfect for one handed operation. As you reach out for the phone in your pocket, tap the back sensor as you pull it out. It should unlock before you even look at it. The Nexus 5X/6P and the Pixel line got this bit right. There is no need to change it.

      The lack of audio jack is indeed a problem.

    • LOL LOL I am loving the absolute hate for this device, that's why I'm getting one: 1. If you need your phone to be waterproof, you're clumsy and should not be handling a phone. 2. I didn't realize you need an AMOLED screen to make phone calls, check email, or the do the ever popular intellectually dumbing snap chat. 3. No crapware is an high selling point for me, more than water proofing, I'll keep my device form water. 4. Let's count the number of high end smartphones with FPID on the back....hmmmmm...oh y
  • This is what the next pixel should have been. Everything is there to make a great modern phone, resolution, dual camera, no bezel. The only weird feature is the ability to use addons, and that is only if you opt to do so. A great phone for VR if you are into that. the new pixel is being made by HTC and the whole idea of a squeeze phone to activate things annoys me to no end. As if I didn't have enough problems with phone activation in my pocket. The home button on my Samsung galaxyX phones would turn
  • yeah but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (1relpek)> on Thursday August 17, 2017 @12:53AM (#55032013)
    Some things that I can pretty much guarantee will not be "essential" with this phone:
    • 1) privacy protections,
    • 2) bug fixes and legacy support after 1 year,
    • 3) people, software, and hardware, and infrastructure to help you when it turns out to be a phone that doesn't work for any reason...
    • To be a serious player in the consumer phone market, with the functionality and support that you need to do a good job with security, features, apps, etc. you need a big team. And a big team is only supportable by selling millions and millions of phones. Anything less and they'll start to cheap out on these things.

      As much as you may hate Google, Apple, Samsung, etc, they have the people they need to do the necessary jobs. A small player like this -- what odds do you put on that being true? Do you w
      • I guess that's why so many people still cling onto their 3year old OnePlus One devices - you know, that phone made by a small company that decided to build a top-spec'd, cheap and pretty much fail-proof device, and to boot use an open-source version of Android (well, back then at least). Even with the loss of CyanogenMod official support, the community is still alive and kicking for the device and it will likely get Android O closely after launch date.