Former Android Chief Andy Rubin Plots Smartphone Comeback With AI-Focused iPhone Killer

Andy Rubin has without question made incredible contributions to the smartphone realm during his tenure at Google, but despite having departed the big G two years ago, he's never stopped talking about making an impact - and in more than just one area. Last summer, we learned that Rubin wanted to give away dashcams (albeit with a big caveat), and not long after, his plans to strike again in the smartphone market became clear.

Complementing the news from last summer, we now learn that Rubin is very close to releasing a new high-end smartphone infused to the core with artificial intelligence. Soon, he's expected to reveal a new company, called Essential, which could either represent the fact that the company's smartphone will simply include the "essentials" so as to cut down on bloat, or that everyone will eventually consider it essential to have one. We're sure Rubin hopes for the latter outcome.

andy rubin

Interestingly, despite the fact that Rubin is the mastermind behind Android, there's no word on whether or not his new smartphone is going to be built around the dominant mobile operating system. For myriad reasons, it probably should be, but Rubin could have other plans that could surprise us. The AI integration will run deep, after all, so a new OS built from the ground up could potentially be necessary.

Essential's first phone is said to feature an edge-to-edge screen with an almost invisible bezel. While we at HotHardware spent last week scouring the show floor at CES, Rubin was there talking to carriers to explore the possibilities of them selling the device. Currently, the only carrier mentioned by name is Sprint, although we'd imagine no stone was left unturned.

Android Park

As for the AI portion of the phone, we're not quite sure of all the possibilities at this point, but it's not hard to guess how AI will interact with the phone's user given other examples we currently see on the market (Alexa, Siri, Cortana, et cetera). Similar to an iPhone, Essential's flagship would offer touch sensitivity, and perhaps even more interesting, a 360-degree camera.

It's being said that the phone will be priced close to that of an iPhone, and that it should become available at some point this summer. Rubin and his 40+ team of employees have an enormous challenge ahead of them, but the amount of talent at Essential could help reap some great rewards.