One week after we heard that Essential may be working on a new AI-focused smartphone, some bad news has come out from Andy Rubin’s company.
Essential has cut approximately 30 percent of its staff, sources have told Bloomberg. Most of the layoffs reportedly happened in Essential’s hardware and sales divisions. An Essential spokesperson confirmed that some cuts were made but didn’t offer any other info:
“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 game changing consumer product.”
Things haven’t been going super smoothly for Essential lately, with the company said to have cancelled its Essential Phone follow-up while it also paused work on its smart speaker device. Additionally, rumors said that Andy Rubin had put Essential up for sale, but no other info on that matter ever came out.
Most recently, a rumor claimed that Essential is working on a new phone with a major focus on AI. The device will reportedly be able to respond to emails and text messages and book appointments on its own, and it’s said to have a small screen to push you to interact more with your voice. Essential reportedly hopes to have a prototype of this phone ready by the end of 2018 so that it can show the device to industry partners at CES 2019 in January.