You may (and should) know Andy Rubin as the Father of Android. Both Rubin and Android were acquired by Google as a package deal in 2005, where Rubin would remain in charge of what would become the world’s most popular OS until his departure in 2014. Prior to that Rubin was a co-founder of Danger, Inc., responsible for the Fido hiptop and T-Mobile Sidekick. I’d go out on a limb and call those pre-iPhone devices smartphones as well; it had full PIM support, a web browser and shipped with the first onboard app store that I can recall.
The history lesson is necessary, because Rubin has a new company and new products set for release this year, and if the guy’s track record is any indication then we should probably pay attention.
Bloomberg reports that Rubin has registered Essential Products, Inc. with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets and “computer operating software for mobile phones” as its goods and services on offer. What will differentiate these new products from what’s already on the market?
Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. “New computing platforms happen every ten to twelve years,” he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. “What’s the next platform?… It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn.”
The centrepiece of Essential’s product line is said to be a high-end flagship smartphone; at least one prototype has a screen larger than an iPhone 7 Plus but in a smaller form factor, thanks to a lack of bezels, and also a ceramic shell. The phone is rumoured to launch by Q3 this year; yours truly will be watching with great interest for further news.