Essentially Gone: Not Even Andy Rubin Can Build an Android Company

Several years ago, when Andy Rubin left Google to create Essential Products which later produced the Essential phone, there was a significant amount of hype surrounding this company. Afterall, Andy built Android, surely he could create a company around the OS and do magical things, right?

Wrong, as Bloomberg notes today, the company is putting itself up for sale and it has spent more than $100 million on product development. And if you were looking forward to the next gen Essential phone, it has been canceled.

The company will likely be sold in the near future but the likelihood of ever seeing another phone from this company is slim to none. I’d expect the Essential brand to get the Nokia treatment where another company buys the assets and then re-brands generic phones under this name.

But there is a bigger take here, the Android market is not open for business. Samsung and Google own the mobile OS and everyone else has quickly become a second-rate competitor. LG and HTC have struggled to find meaningful success against Samsung and One Plus has captured the lower-priced market.

Now I know that some will say that their LG/HTC/Other brand phone is excellent, and you are right, it likely is, but the truth here is that it is incredibly hard to achieve a high level of success in the mobile segment unless you are Apple, Google, or Samsung. Heck, even Amazon tried and failed here too.

Which leads me to the next point, Microsoft building an Android phone would not ‘save’ them either. It’s an incredibly tough market segment to break into and it’s a relatively mature market which is why we are frequently seeing a condensing of the competitive landscape.

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  • lilmoe

    24 May, 2018 - 6:06 pm

    <p>How is google succeeding? </p><p><br></p><p>It's Samsung, Apple and Huawei. At least according to actual sales figures and profit. OnePlus is small fry, and Oppo rules the midrange. </p>

    • MikeCerm

      24 May, 2018 - 6:15 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278603"><em>In reply to lilmoe:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'd throw Xiaomi in there, too. Obviously they have no presence in the US, but they're so big in China that their worldwide numbers are pretty good. Google is a niche player, and if they didn't have other sources of revenue they would have gotten out of the handset business by now.</p>

    • dmos01

      Premium Member
      24 May, 2018 - 6:50 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278603"><em>In reply to lilmoe:</em></a></blockquote><p>"Own the Mobile OS", literally? Google runs Android, while Samsung sells the phones. So, in that sense it is Google and Samsung.</p><p><br></p><p>As for later, when Brad mentions Apple, Google and Samsung, yeah. I'm confused too. Surely the Pixel sales figures aren't that good? (Especially after the 2XL.) Maybe they're a hold over from the Nexus 5X/6P era?</p><p><br></p><p>Remind me what the market was like, back then? I feel like Nexus was one of the strongest non-Samsung-Apple brands?</p>

      • Winner

        24 May, 2018 - 7:22 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#278620"><em>In reply to dmos01:</em></a></blockquote><p>Contrary to all the noise, I've been very happy with my Pixel 2XL and have had none of the problems listed. And I always have an up to date Android OS with security patches.</p><p><br></p><p>Yeah, I realize I'm a anecdotal story of 1.</p>

      • jrickel96

        24 May, 2018 - 8:50 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#278620"><em>In reply to dmos01:</em></a></blockquote><p>Google's success with Android will diminish over time. GDPR compliance will damage it for Google severely in the EU. I expect other nations will follow suit with similar laws over time, thwarting the entire purpose of the Android platform for Google – the gathering of personal data so they can more effectively push ads. It has helped Google in the past, but the law of diminishing returns will be hitting Google hard as privacy concerns mounts and companies like MS pledge to enact GDPR everywhere. </p><p><br></p><p>Samsung is really the only one that does decently in Android – and I wouldn't say they do all that well. Their average transaction price for an Android phone is around $250 compared to Apple's $750. Most of their sales are low or mid-range, not high end. The high end does help them make a profit. Android overall has an average transaction price at around $200 – so Samsung does significantly better than everyone else there. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

        • jdmp10

          25 May, 2018 - 2:41 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#278632"><em>In reply to jrickel96:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>No doubt Android as we know it to be today can't continue to sustain GDPR and future similar policies that will no doubt come in the midst of so much privacy concern that surrounds Android and how Google generates its largest revenue amount.</p><p><br></p><p>Whether or not Google saw this coming with privacy concerns mounting, deep lawsuits with Oracle over Java still going on that they need to get away from Android and start a new OS (Andromeda, Fuschia or something different entirely).</p><p><br></p><p>Samsung is a hardware company first and foremost and hasn't turned Tizen into anything that could even come close to challenging Android or iOS so their stuck using Android but you can be sure they'd be on the first flight out away from Android if a viable 3rd option existed. They are currently making their money on handsets in hardware markups and not anything to do with the Android platform itself so they have no sweetspot for Android you can be sure of that.</p>

          • skane2600

            25 May, 2018 - 6:02 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#278826"><em>In reply to jdmp10:</em></a></blockquote><p>Is there anything intrinsic to Android that violates the GDPR? I doubt it. It might impact Google's ability to profit from it, but that's a different issue.</p>

            • jrickel96

              25 May, 2018 - 8:10 pm

              <blockquote><a href="#278866"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>The way it reports your personal data and allows companies to very easily grab data off your phone, even without you authorizing it. There have been numerous cases where photo data, usage data, etc has been able to be gotten from Android, even newer builds. Google has shown no ability to control it. </p><p><br></p><p>Since they make the OS, if anyone finds a backdoor to get personal information and fails to inform, Google can be held liable under GDPR. </p><p><br></p><p>Android also reports your movements to Google, your search data, etc. It is an important part of Google getting info for ad targeting. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has now committed to enforcing GDPR globally. The pressure will be on Google to do the same, but I they do then they will likely see their profits plummet, their stock price plunge, and their market cap nosedive. The potential exists for Google to be a shell of its current self within a few years. Amazon also has a hill to climb, though not as big as Google.</p>

              • skane2600

                25 May, 2018 - 8:57 pm

                <blockquote><a href="#278877"><em>In reply to jrickel96:</em></a></blockquote><p>The responsibility Google has for what third-party apps do even if they exploit holes in Android security is murky. There are less subtle issues in GDPR that will take years to litigate. </p><p><br></p><p>The issue of data gathering is, for the most part, just an extension of Google's issue with their services when accessed from a PC or Mac. It's not unique to Android.</p><p><br></p><p>While Google is more dependent on ad revenue than some companies, strict enforcement of GDPR will place the same limitations on competitors as well. This will affect Microsoft too.</p>

                • jrickel96

                  26 May, 2018 - 1:39 pm

                  <blockquote><a href="#278878"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>It will, but minimally. It will affect companies where the consumer IS the product the most. Amazon and Google are likely to be battered long term.</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has taken the lead here and stated that they will use GDPR rules globally, not just in Europe. That will likely create pressure on both Amazon and Google over the long term, but both are in a bad place when it comes to ensuring data privacy since both profit greatly off using personal data for targeting. </p><p><br></p><p>More multi-billion fines from the EU are likely incoming for Google and I expect at some point the US will pass privacy legislation, further hurting Google's bottom line.</p><p><br></p><p>Expectations are that Google will have to begin charging more for services that are currently subsidized – education, G-Suite, etc. There are some places they can do okay with if they anonymize data (like location based ad sourcing), but targeting based on history for ads will be a problem and dramatically reduce profit in their main revenue source.</p><p><br></p><p>Again, do not be surprised to see Microsoft and IBM emerge as the big players in cloud and big data over the next five years with Amazon and Google greatly diminished. The latter two are not ready for privacy concerns and do not appear to have any strong profitability plans that do not have serious privacy concerns – including issues with their assistants. </p><p><br></p><p>Google is in for a rough ride the next few years and I expect their market cap to significantly shrink. Amazon will not be as damaged, but their growth in cloud is slowing and concerns about how they manage their cloud infrastructure are growing. </p><p><br></p><p>Facebook is also in for a very rough ride. </p>

                • skane2600

                  26 May, 2018 - 5:46 pm

                  <blockquote><a href="#278970"><em>In reply to jrickel96:</em></a></blockquote><p>Just storing session state can trigger a GDPR requirement since it's stored as a cookie. That's pretty fundamental to ASP.NET. Strict enforcement of GDPR is going to be painful for nearly all websites world-wide except perhaps those that are purely static without even the ability to support comments. </p>

          • jrickel96

            25 May, 2018 - 8:05 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#278826"><em>In reply to jdmp10:</em></a></blockquote><p>Absolutely. Samsung will be fine, though they are probably the only OEM doing well on the Android side. Others can survive due to diversified offerings (Huawei, LG, etc), but pure phone manufacturers struggle. The low end manufacturers likely do okay because they basically just rebrand prebuilt phones.</p><p><br></p><p>Google will have similar problems with Fuchsia. Google is in trouble as a company if GDPR becomes more widespread. Google is a company that has failed a lot more than it has succeeded. It's core product and the ad platform that grew out of it are fantastic. Beyond that, not sure anything else has been a huge success. G-Suite has been growing, but there's no evidence that its pricing structure is profitable without the bigger Google services subsidizing – and Office 365 has been growing just as fast and likely faster. </p><p><br></p><p>Google has made a lot of things work by using their massive ad revenue to help subsidize other products. But what if that pool begins to shrink? Time will tell, though I've talked to several people that believe we'll see a massive hit to Google revenues and profits after the first full quarter under GDPR in the EU. They suspect Amazon will also take a major hit, though not as big. </p><p><br></p><p>If other nations begin adopting the same type of laws, both Google and Amazon could be hit hard. Then – who knows? Would Google even bother with Android if they can't get any data from it? Would they still do G-Suite for schools if they can't get data (and that has been a concern)? Anonymized data doesn't really interest them. </p><p><br></p><p>As people ask for greater privacy controls, companies like Google AND Amazon face a crossroads. Amazon will still be big, but they will have a lot fewer tools to push products you're interested in or fill an add based on Google's data. There's also concerns about AWS on a global scale. I know potential clients in the EU are very leery of Amazon and Google. IBM is beginning to surge in the Cloud.</p><p><br></p><p>I actually would not be surprised if AWS falters and over the next five years the two big Cloud companies that emerge are Microsoft and IBM. IBM is playing hard to expand their global reach and pushing a ton into the cloud and their AI tools. I believe they may be passing Google soon as #3 and they are getting aggressive. </p>

  • PincasX

    24 May, 2018 - 6:09 pm

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">"Andy built Android, surely he could create a company around the OS and do magical things, right?"</span></p><p><br></p><p>Anyone that thought this was the case is a bit of a dumbass. The venn diagram that shows the skills required to lead a team in building an OS and the skills required to manage a start up company doesn't have much of an overlap. </p><p><br></p>

  • rbrynteson

    24 May, 2018 - 6:15 pm

    <p>This is too bad because I've been using the PH-1 as my Lumia 950 replacement and really like it. Good thing I have some time till i buy another. </p>

  • Siv

    24 May, 2018 - 6:38 pm

    <p>People are stupid!</p>

  • F4IL

    24 May, 2018 - 6:53 pm

    <p>I think the comparison is a bit of a stretch. Andy Rubin's (small) company didn't make it due to the lack of capital influx. They literally popped a year and a half into their first unsuccessful product launch because they didn't have oppo, samsung, or amazon to back them. Comparatively, msft failed years and tens of $billions after their entry into the smartphone market, with a platform that was fairly unpopular.</p><p>Anyway, what's left of Nokia have entered the Android market out of nowhere and seem to be doing well.</p>

    • LocalPCGuy

      25 May, 2018 - 12:54 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278621"><em>In reply to F4IL:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think they failed because Sprint was the only US carrier. Also, all the negative publicity over software issues, pretty much killed any positive buzz over the phone shortly after it was released. Also, the baby thumb notch looks stupid.</p>

    • Lauren Glenn

      25 May, 2018 - 3:42 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278621"><em>In reply to F4IL:</em></a></blockquote><p>So the fact that it got bad reviews because the phone was apparently impossible to repair the screen or shell of the phone? I don't know why anyone thought that good software translates into great hardware. Much like how great hardware is ruined by bad software, you kind of have to have both. There was nothing really appealing about this phone at all aside from everyone saying that he was the guy who sold Android to Google. OK, so?</p>

  • tggmbi

    Premium Member
    24 May, 2018 - 6:58 pm

    <p>Does Google have any kind of success as a phone maker? Really asking, not Sarcastic. </p><p>I have never seen Google in the sales charts… </p>

    • dmos01

      Premium Member
      24 May, 2018 - 7:03 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278622"><em>In reply to tggmbi:</em></a></blockquote><p>Even during the Nexus era?</p>

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      Premium Member
      25 May, 2018 - 6:43 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278622"><em>In reply to tggmbi:</em></a></blockquote><p>They are are doing better every year. 1st year I think they sold around 1 to 2 million phones. The new pixel 2 and pixel 2 xl they 2x their sales to 4 million phones. If they can keep that up in 5 more years they could be selling a good amount of phones. </p><p><br></p>

      • Rycott

        Premium Member
        25 May, 2018 - 9:45 am

        <blockquote><a href="#278694"><em>In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:</em></a></blockquote><p>That's what people thought about Windows Phone as well.</p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      26 May, 2018 - 3:51 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278622"><em>In reply to tggmbi:</em></a></blockquote><p>Ill tell ya one way El Goog could improve their chances would be to not have a damn exclusive deal with Verizon.</p>

  • Cain69

    24 May, 2018 - 6:58 pm

    <p>The phone itself is GREAT! Perfect size, great hardware and software experience. I have three in my family and bought one for a friend. All the phones we have do not have a single scratch on them! The damn thing is solid! </p><p>Too bad they made poor business decisions – just because you can program doesn't mean you know how to sell. <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The phone was priced way too high to begin with – $700 for a non-waterproof phone?! Plus, all the cool colors were not even released until recently AFTER Holiday buying season! – and are priced higher! Had they started off with all the colors and $500 – they would have sold like hotcakes. </span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Ohh well – went from Windows Phone 950/950XL to Nexus 5X to Essential Phone – all extinct phone lines!! LOL </span></p>

  • Pungkuss

    24 May, 2018 - 7:13 pm

    <p>Nokia seems to be doing doing well. </p><p><br></p>

  • Jhambi

    24 May, 2018 - 7:46 pm

    <p>Great article . Nextbit had similar aspirations with the Robin. Microsoft should have partnered with Samsung to push Arrow and Cortana. I dont know why Samsung thought Bixby was a good idea.</p>

  • Jeffery Commaroto

    24 May, 2018 - 8:40 pm

    <p>I don’t know that Google has seen much success as a phone maker either. It seems to be an Apple, Samsung and Huawei game right now.</p>

    • dcdevito

      24 May, 2018 - 10:14 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278630"><em>In reply to Jeffery_Commaroto:</em></a></blockquote><p>Except that Google owns and controls the OS, so…</p>

      • Jeffery Commaroto

        25 May, 2018 - 6:39 am

        <blockquote><a href="#278667"><em>In reply to dcdevito:</em></a></blockquote><p>Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Essential and Google compete as phone makers. Essential and Google don’t seem to compete well against the others. In my comment I said “phone maker” specifically and it is interesting that despite “owning” the OS and getting a lot of media hype even Google has struggled to crack the market.</p>

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      Premium Member
      25 May, 2018 - 6:41 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278630"><em>In reply to Jeffery_Commaroto:</em></a></blockquote><p>Google probably sold 4 to 8 million phones and Essential only sold a few hundred thousand. This business takes many years to build up brand, distribution , and marking that even has a chance at making a dent in Apple and Samsung products no matter how good they are.</p>

  • ben55124

    Premium Member
    24 May, 2018 - 8:40 pm

    <p>Make it and they will come doesn't work on phones anymore. You need to bring something new. </p><p><br></p><p>Samsung = iPhone alternative</p><p>Pixel = latest google</p><p>OnePlus = value price flagship</p><p>moto/Nokia = value</p><p><br></p><p>Not much of a story for lg, HTC, or essential. </p>

    • Cain69

      25 May, 2018 - 6:03 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278631"><em>In reply to ben55124:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Haha – except as Essential is priced right now, I placed it with OnePlus. I agree at $700 they do not have a place. But priced at $500 they are a great buy. I just got my Essential recently from Amazon for $350! It was either that or OnePlus 6… </p>

      • beatnixxx

        Premium Member
        25 May, 2018 - 2:26 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#278690"><em>In reply to Cain69:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I did the same about 4-5 months ago. It's a great phone at this price. I have no complaints.</p>

  • MacLiam

    Premium Member
    24 May, 2018 - 9:48 pm

    <p>Kind of feels to me that some time ago Rubin designed a phone that he firmly believed would be the cat's meow when it was released. Alas, when he finally delivered it, it was about a year behind the expectation curve that had been set by his competitors. If you're starting from scratch in a competitive field, you need to be spectacular when you debut. Or, if you happen to think there is a huge market for ordinary devices, you need to produce one that is ordinary in a novel and fascinating way. That camera add-on may have been novel, but it was a long way from fascinating. </p><p><br></p><p>I'm sorry this didn't work, but Rubin wouldn't have learned anything if it had been to some degree successful. I have no doubt he's a bright guy, and what he learned with Essential will undoubtedly help him in his next project. I'll be looking for what he busies himself with from now on.</p>

  • dcdevito

    24 May, 2018 - 10:13 pm

    <p>They entered an already saturated market. There was nothing that phone offered that stood out against the competition. And their camera and home products were pointless gimmicks. </p><p>If this guy is so great at robotics, why'd he go back into the smartphone market? He probably would've had a better chance selling a third alternative OS. </p>

  • harmjr

    Premium Member
    24 May, 2018 - 10:45 pm

    <p>I own a ph-1 and I can say this phone was buggy until Android Oreo update. When they do the fire sale on these phones get one they are excellent. Vinella Android is a good concept but that's what killed this phone was the crappy photo app yet is has premium cameras, no voicemail app. It's said to see the fact that this android os is so locked. But hey Amazon phone failed too. </p>

  • skane2600

    24 May, 2018 - 10:49 pm

    <p>The failure was a combination of a small company trying to compete in a well-established commodity market and the fact that Rubin had the wrong skill set. There's a long history of "celebrity" technologists who were unable to turn their reputation into a competitive advantage (Nolan Bushnell, Alan Kay, Steve Wozniak, etc). Even&nbsp;Steve Jobs couldn't succeed away from Apple (He didn't start Pixar and didn't have much to do with its day to day operations).</p>

  • Mcgillivray

    24 May, 2018 - 11:24 pm

    <p>So, does this mean then the Essential phone will never get another OS UPDATE?</p>

  • ozaz

    25 May, 2018 - 2:57 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">"I’d expect the Essential brand to get the Nokia treatment where another company buys the assets and then re-brands generic phones under this name"</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Why? Unlike Nokia, Essential has zero name recognition beyond people who regularly read tech blogs.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Also, is it accurate to say HMD's Nokia phones are generic? Which other brands are their phones being released under?</span></p>

  • PeteB

    25 May, 2018 - 2:59 am

    <p> Essential being poorly run and the product poorly executed doesn't mean no one else can break into Android phones. The revived and Microsoft free Nokia is batting 1000 with their new Android phones and already third biggest. </p><p><br></p><p>Leave the snark to Paul, Brad. It's just cringe inducing when you try.</p>

    • skane2600

      25 May, 2018 - 3:02 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278685"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>You can't compare a startup with a company like Nokia. I think Rubin really had the best chance to start a smartphone company from scratch due to the hype associated with him creating the original Android. Anyone else would have been unlikely to get investors at all.</p>

    • Pic889

      25 May, 2018 - 3:08 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278685"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>Exactly. Essential's phone was heavy, had buggy camera software and also pioneered the useless notch paired to lots of bottom chin (the iPhone X needs a notch because it has no bottom chin).</p><p><br></p><p>Meanwhile -as you said- Nokia is increasing their sales and so is Xiaomi. LG failed due to crippling hardware bugs and HTC because their products are too expensive and they tend to use multiple suppliers for the camera (One M7), the aluminum back (M8) and screen (U11+) with varying quality, so you never know what you are going to get. Sony Xperias are ugly and Sony didn't try too much honestly. With Samsung phones being a bit tasteless on the hardware and software side, I think there is plenty of room for competition.</p>

  • Angusmatheson

    25 May, 2018 - 4:35 am

    <p>I thought that Andy Rubin left Google was because he had a relationship with someone in his direct chain of command – and when that came out he stepped away from Essential – but then came back. For me, the interesting Andy Rubin story is his Microsoft story. Microsoft bought Sidekick which clearly showed that this man understood the mobile future of computing (or perhaps the future of computing is comminication and that’s needa to be mobile). And then blew itZ I could have made Android at Microsoft. Even if he didn’t get touch based UI at first – Android had all the pieces and an adaptability To copy it fast – which Palm and Blackberry failed to to. Andy Rubin evolving the sidekick inside of Microsoft could have made Microsoft a player, if not the dominant player, in mobile. But that was not to be, and he did it for Google instead. </p>

  • rameshthanikodi

    25 May, 2018 - 6:42 am

    <p>this company and phone was dead from the start. It was popular only among the tech press and other influencers' bubbles. Outside of them, they have zero relevance to consumers.</p>

  • gabbrunner

    25 May, 2018 - 6:49 am

    <p>HMD/Nokia might be the one that finds its niche. </p>

  • mjw149

    25 May, 2018 - 8:34 am

    <p>I'd argue that Amazon just had the wrong strategy with the fire phone. They make low end Android tablets just fine, they can do low end android phones under the right conditions. They probably will try again, after their lead in ambient computing is extended a bit. MS had a substantial audience in phones for a while, after all, even with a completely incompatible ecosystem and troubled leadership. There's a place for Amazon if they want it.</p>

    • Angusmatheson

      25 May, 2018 - 1:57 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278711"><em>In reply to mjw149:</em></a></blockquote><p>I do wonder what an Amazong phone version of the fire tablet – low cost, well connected to Prime, internet only – would have done? Lots of people have tried to build new smart phones to get into it – Essential, Robin, Windows phone,blackberry Storm – and none of them have had any success. One Plus seems like th exception. They seem to be growing and taking mind share.</p>

    • skane2600

      25 May, 2018 - 2:58 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278711"><em>In reply to mjw149:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think Amazon got too greedy. Instead of having their own app store they should have just preinstalled Amazon-friendly apps and relied on the normal Google apps. </p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 8:54 am

    <p>when It comes to premium android handsets Samsung is definitely on top perhaps google is there as well… but it’s hard to gauge googles share because they don’t publish numbers. And that tells you something…</p><p><br></p><p>but lg, huwawii, ZTE … ect are doing well at the value segment of the market. </p><p><br></p><p>what I take from this, is that consumers are fine with good enough. And the smartphone market is entertaining the mature stage of its life cycle. </p><p><br></p><p>Tech sector seems to be out of ideas that provide meaningful value. We are now scratching for incremental gains. </p><p><br></p><p>Time to head to another industry to get your future is now fix …</p><p><br></p>

  • goodbar

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 9:16 am

    <p>I'm still waiting for a phone that's tough enough to not need a case, that's still slim and fast. Was hoping PH-2 would be it…</p>

  • Bats

    25 May, 2018 - 9:47 am

    <p>This was doomed from the start. Not from anything that the company did, but the fact that it wasn't Samsung or Google.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Plain and simple, there was no marketing for the phone. I saw no commercial on tv about it. I saw no billboard or didn't really notice any distinct and conspicuous advertising in store. Not just that, but I did not even see Andy Rubin anywhere in the media. The guy is a total numb-nuts in understanding how business works or the consumer market.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Rubin could have made this work. No one really cares about any of the phone's shortcomings, if there was any. To be honest, I really don't know if the phone had any shortcoming, nor do I care. I'm sure it's a great phone, but no one will ever know now. People need to understand why Apple and Samsung are so popular among the people. When people hold an Apple device, they associate that with Steve Jobs, still, and what he represented in terms of quality and design. With Samsung, it's like the same thing. YOu see all their great products, like tv and appliances, and you see elegance and personal (self-perceived) stature. The bottom line is that Andy Rubin went all out to sell his phone. Rubin should've marketed the phone, like actors marketing a movie. Then he should've made the case as to why his phone is better than the Galaxy or the Pixel and attack it. He should've been to Essential as John Legere is to T-Mobile. If Andy Rubin, launched a marketing campaign exactly the same way Microsoft did for Windows Phone, his product line/company would not be in trouble today. Why is that? Because as an Android phone, it isn't as useless as compared to a Windows phone.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>This phone had so much potential. Oh well, too bad.</p>

  • jrswarr

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 9:50 am

    <p>Guess I just have to wait for the next great thing. It's not like we got a lot of choice. Android or IOS – bleech. I just can't bring my self to buy an Android phone because I really don't want to be in the Googleverse – but Apple keeps pissing me off because they won't allow integration of 3rd parties into thier universe. </p><p><br></p><p>Me: "Hey Siri play music from Spotify"</p><p>Siri: "I cant play music from Spotify"</p><p><br></p><p>Windows Phone seemed the perfect balance between the two – but just never got the developer attention it needed ( and deserved in my opinion) but that is just crying over spilt milk and serves no useful purpose.</p><p>Me: "Hey Cortana play music."</p><p>Cortana: "I'm on it"</p><p> "Resuming music on Spotify"</p><p>Simple, huh?</p><p><br></p><p>Apparently not in the Appleverse.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • Patrick Yore

    25 May, 2018 - 10:29 am

    <p>pity as it was a beautiful looking phone, I was looking forward to seeing mark#2</p>

  • slartybartmark

    25 May, 2018 - 10:50 am

    <p>Sometimes I wonder if these guys who come from the gigantic corporations have short term memory about how unsuccessful many commercial ventures from their old companies were/are. These giant companies are able to support, develop and invest in them because they can absorb the losses due to successes in other areas. </p><p><br></p><p>Would a company that only made (for example) the Google Pixel be able to survive on the market sales it has and continue to innovate and develop new devices? </p><p><br></p><p>There are myriad examples of similar devices and ventures (XBox) losing money for a long time and being propped up by the other money making parts of a large corporation. </p><p><br></p><p>Just a thought. </p>

  • rmlounsbury

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 11:11 am

    <p>I really wanted to pickup an Essential phone but my big concern was that it is a new phone company without anything else to keep it floating in a market that has been saturated. Most of its cache was wrapped up in Andy Rubin which no one outside of the tech/mobile sphere is even aware Rubin has anything to do with Android. The one thing Essential had going for it was that it was one of the first all screen phones and the first with a notch. </p><p><br></p><p>The only way Essential could have survived was to strike deals with carriers to get their phones in the carrier stores and have those staffs sell it for them. Most consumers still just go to their local carrier store and grab whatever is new and hot off the shelf there. I believe Essential was in Sprint but never got in with anyone else (I do recall seeing an Essential in a Best Buy though). It also didn't help that Essential launched with a high price at the time and was not a review darling and abysmal camera performance out of the gate pretty well doomed the first generation. To the companies credit they corrected the price and most of the camera problems but it was just too much to overcome. </p><p><br></p><p>It was a nice phone that wasn't really groundbreaking and it didn't get any run in the non-tech (normal folk) space. It's best selling points such as pure Android already had good &amp; cheaper options (Nokia/Motorola) and it's notched full faced screen came out after the Galaxy S8 (and to a lesser degree the G6 as well) hit the market with a full-face screen and the Pixel 2 XL shortly after it. The magnetic connector only ever had a 360 cam which Samsung also had and for less. </p><p><br></p><p>I'm not particularly surprised that Essential didn't make it past 1.0. </p>

  • Mark from CO

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 11:48 am

    <p>Paul:</p><p><br></p><p>The major lesson of the tech market the last couple of decades: the real money only flows to the top 1 or 2 (and on exception basis 3) market competitors. Everyone else fight for the scraps off the profit table belonging the 1, 2, and perhaps 3.</p>

    • Pierre Masse

      28 May, 2018 - 2:48 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278774"><em>In reply to Mark from CO:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's Brad, not Paul. </p><p><br></p><p>And I wish Microsoft could be 3.</p>

  • markatcristorey

    25 May, 2018 - 11:57 am

    <p>Do have to give Rubin credit for a different product though. He's also behind the Meeting Owl which is a truly incredible device. Just bought the fourth for our office. Not everything comes up a winner, but do enough smart ideas and some of them will be awesome.</p>

  • Waethorn

    25 May, 2018 - 12:26 pm

    <p>You can't successfully run a single-product company competing against multi-product companies. Sorry, that's just the way it is.</p>

    • ozaz

      25 May, 2018 - 1:19 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#278802"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Roku doesn't seem to be doing too badly</p>

      • Waethorn

        25 May, 2018 - 1:22 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#278805"><em>In reply to ozaz:</em></a></blockquote><p>Roku has many products. When was the last time you looked at Roku and said: "Hmm….so they don't have a lot of choice here."?</p>

        • ozaz

          25 May, 2018 - 4:12 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#278806"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Different to its competitors (Amazon, Apple &amp; Google) Roku has one class of product, which is what I thought you were referring to.</p><p><br></p><p>I suspect you realized that and are just being deliberately snide. </p>

          • Waethorn

            26 May, 2018 - 11:56 am

            <blockquote><a href="#278845"><em>In reply to ozaz:</em></a></blockquote><p>Essential has exactly 1 phone.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    25 May, 2018 - 2:14 pm

    <p>LG at least has other products which rely on wireless data connections, so their phone division helps other divisions. Other will remain for a while eking whatever profit there is at the low-end. How HTC is still in business is a mystery.</p>

  • Lauren Glenn

    25 May, 2018 - 3:44 pm

    <p>So…. pretty much like the PC market in the 80s where there were many OS's and eventually 1 one and one was like the LaserDisc of the computer market which just survived because of a niche market and not because it was immensely popular. If Nokia didn't make Windows Phone, it would've died sooner than when Microsoft killed it…. and I think they knew that.</p>

  • Seo Seot

    26 May, 2018 - 12:13 am

    <p>Unfortunately, the smartphone stopped producin</p><p></p>

  • johnh3

    26 May, 2018 - 9:40 am

    <p>I agree that Samsung probably more or less own the android space in the US market. So I wonder why not Andy Rubin went for the european market with the Essential phone, as a plan B if it not would worked in USA? It was a lot of interested people that wanted to buy the Essential Phone here but no sales channel or distribution for it. And the market in europe are not controlled by carriers in same extent like in USA, many just buy unlocked phones basicly. Thats why we see great progress for Huawei or Xiaomi here (and the new HMD Global/Nokia.) So I think that was a huge mistake by the Essential company.</p>

  • Steven Lendowski

    26 May, 2018 - 12:43 pm

    <p>I Just dont get why nearly all here in the comments and Brad too only think about Samsung, Apple, LG, HTC and Google (some also OnePlus). They are old news.</p><p><br></p><p>Just look at the market data, and trends of the last 5 years.</p><p>Its the CHINESE companys that are taking over the market by STORM!</p><p>Xiaomi, Huawei, Honor will be the players to watch, and they DID enter the global market (excluding USA) succesfully, where all attempts by western companys have failed.</p><p><br></p><p>Some years ago, i was laughed at for me (still great working 4+ years old with LineageOS and soon Oreo) Xiaomi Mi4. </p><p>Now, here in Europe, most ppl buy Huawei, Nokia/HMD Global, and Xiaomi just openend their first stores. Only those able and wanting to spend 1000€ for and S9 or iPhone X will still look to the old players in the game.</p><p><br></p><p>What Google cant do here, and Samsung is struggling with outside Flagships, the Chinese did. And THATS the real game changer.</p><p><br></p><p>And to use BS "national security" reasons to hurt competition like ZTE wont help anyway. China provides great quality (With Xiaomis Flagships i can honestly say from my OWN experience Apple level), top hardware, faster updates then everyone else except Google/Android One/Apple, at 1/3 to 1/2 the price.</p><p><br></p><p>And thats the key.</p><p><br></p><p>An US centric worldview is quite limited to Analyse this whole development. As for analysing nearly anything else.</p><p><br></p>

  • glenn8878

    27 May, 2018 - 7:42 am

    <p>Microsoft should not be in the phone business period. It’s weird to keep hearing people say Microsoft should enter the Android business with a Windows variant as if there’s a business case. Actually, Microsoft made a mistake by not being satisfied with 10% of the phone market with the Windows phone and bailed out too quickly. Another problem is they move much too slowly with new features and UI enhancements. Windows Phones are 2 to 3 years behind the market leaders, yet won’t ever catch up with apps, mobile payments, and UI consistency. Metro is so outdated. Where’s Fluent? Barely arrived. Many screens are still in Windows 7 style. </p>

  • Geoff

    28 May, 2018 - 10:21 pm

    <p>jrswarr over in the premium comments gets it right:</p><p><br></p><p>"Guess I just have to wait for the next great thing. It's not like we got a lot of choice. Android or IOS – bleech. I just can't bring my self to buy an Android phone because I really don't want to be in the Googleverse – but Apple keeps pissing me off because they won't allow integration of 3rd parties into thier universe."</p><p><br></p><p>The smartphone space simply isn't offering me anything at all right now, so I've stopped buying. And I don't feel like I'm missing a thing.</p><p><br></p><p>Perhaps one of the Chinese brands (Huawei is my guess, they're making great products right now) can fork Android into something GDPR-friendly and Google-free by design, and we'll get our apps via PWA.</p>


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