When the father of Android, Andy Rubin, left Google and later launched Essential Products, the world expected big things. The launch of the Essential Phone proved that just because you are the father of the most popular operating system for mobile devices doesn't mean people will flock to your new products. The Essential Phone was essentially a flop with the device moving less than 90,000 units in 2017. The phone launched with a massive price tag, but discounts were piled on the device as time went by, with the latest discount coming in August when the device was a mere $224 during a special Amazon deal.
Now we're learning that Essential Products has laid off about 30% of its workforce according to reports; the company website says that Essential had about 120 employees. Essential's struggles have been ongoing, and in May it was reported that the company was canceling its second generating smartphone, and more recently it announced that work was underway on a smartphone with an AI that could text and email for you.
That device is tipped to have a small screen and to require voice commands for most functions with reports indicating that the voice commands would not be optional. The assumption is that the only way to control most functions of the device will be via voice commands. How exactly a device such as that would fare on the market remains to be seen.
A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg in an email, "This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers. We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly
Workforce reductions were made in Essential's hardware, marketing, and sales divisions according to sources claiming to be familiar with the matter. Essential is a start-up that was backed by about $300 million in capital making it one of the largest Silicon Valley startups in years. The company was investigating a sale in May, with no updates on that possibility since then.