Andy Rubin, who helped propel Android to the behemoth it is, has been hard at work on a new smartphone, which could see the light of day this year.
Bloomberg reports that Rubin, along with a team of around 40 from companies like Google and Apple, are part of a company called “Essential” and they have a new, high-end smartphone on the way. Citing unnamed sources, the report states the upcoming handset will feature a display bigger than 5.5 inches, but that its footprint will be smaller than similarly-sized handsets (like the iPhone 7 Plus) because the new device will feature a “lack of bezels.”
The new device may also feature a pressure-sensitive screen, also like the iPhone 7 Plus. It will be housed in an industrial design with metal edges and the back of the handset will be made of ceramic, similar to Xiaomi’s Mi Mix. Essential will be positioning the high-end smartphone in the same price category as Apple’s and Google’s flagships, which means it will likely be priced around $649.
Unfortunately, it’s not known whether or not this new handset will be based off Android.
Nothing is finalized just yet, but the report also sheds light on a proprietary magnetic connector that will charge the upcoming handset and also expand the device’s functionality. Rubin is working on one accessory is reported to be a 360-degree spherical camera.
The other major focus will be artificial intelligence, with this smartphone being the centerpiece to a variety of different consumer products being planned for launch later this year by Essential. What exactly that entails remains to be seen, however.
Finally, Rubin apparently spoke with a variety of different wireless carriers at CES earlier this month, with Sprint specifically name dropped. However, nothing is official just yet.
AI is a huge movement in the technology industry, so it’s not surprising to hear that Rubin is diving in with a new smartphone and a suite of new consumer products to work with it. However, a modular smartphone is a far more risky endeavor, with other companies trying to make it work but nothing really catching on just yet.
What do you think of this rumor?