Andy Rubin and crew expected big things when they started Essential and created a smartphone that aimed to be different from other devices on the market, but things didn't go their way. Consumers didn't flock to the new company the father of Android created, and sales for the phone were poor. In May of this year, Essential announced that it had canceled its second-generation phone and was considering a sale. Fast forward a few months and Essential had announced layoffs, despite having delivered the headphone accessory that it had promised for its smartphone. Today, Essential has now announced that it isn't making the Essential Phone anymore but there's perhaps still hope.
The upside for fans of Essential is that the company is going back on its decision to kill any development of a second generation device with the announcement that it is officially working on a new mobile product. While Essential is vague about what that new product might be, the assumption is that it is talking about a small device that uses AI and would be able to send text messages for you, that was briefly disclosed back in October. The official statement from Essential says that it has sold out of the Essential Phone on its website and won't add any new inventory.
With poor sales and consumers shying away, the discontinuation is no surprise. The good news for the people who did purchase the Essential Phone is that the company still promises to offer software updates for the now discontinued device. Keeping its smartphone updated was one of the things that Essential did well, with frequent updates on a schedule that only Google itself outpaced in the smartphone realm.
There is no indication of a time frame for the new device to show up. There is also the question of if consumers are ready for a smaller phone with functions controlled mostly by voice, assuming that is what Essential is working on.