Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin's Essential Team Reportedly Building AI-Powered Smartphone

Essential is reportedly working on a 'new kind of phone' with a mind of its own

We know that the Essential Phone didn't get all the love or the attention it deserved and therefore were not getting a PH2.

Previously there were reports about the company working on its second smartphone as well as a smart home speaker. Think of it as an AI-powered device with a tiny screen that is supposed to reply to your text messages as it was you and make calls on your behalf.Credit: Brian Ach/Getty ImagesThe Essential Phone PH-1 was a handsome disaster that nobody wanted to buy and even less people knew about.

On top of that, the device is reportedly being designed as a companion gadget that works together with a traditional smartphone instead trying to serve as a full-on replacement for most people. "It would have a small screen and require users to interact mainly using voice commands, in concert with Essential's artificial-intelligence software". Why have an extra device when you can use your phone to do exactly the same with an app? It's being described as an AI-powered device with a design that "sounds a bit like the sci-fi movie Her". Although Essential is yet to confirm any of the aforementioned speculations, Rubin did drop a hint about such a device previous year in an interview with Bloomberg. This time, some more details about the smartphone have been revealed by "people familiar with the matter" in a Bloomberg report.

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That's right, an Essential Phone 2 might be happening. Using voice as the main input point not only presents privacy concerns, but it's also a technical challenge around voice recognition that even companies like Google are struggling to master. Rubin denied claims of sexual misconduct and took a brief leave of absence from Essential last November.

By the time Essential made a decision to put the home-speaker project on hold, it had already lost key engineers working on the project amid disagreements over the prospects for launching such an ambitious device.

One of the sources adds that Essential is aiming to have a prototype of the phone finished by the end of 2018 and may show it off to industry partners at CES 2019 in January. The person said the company may show off the device to industry partners as soon as January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the same venue where it talked up its original phone past year.

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