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.
<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>
<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>
<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>
<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 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>
<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>
<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>
<p>This was doomed from the start. Not from anything that the company did, but the fact that it wasn't Samsung or Google. </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. </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. </p><p><br></p><p>This phone had so much potential. Oh well, too bad.</p>
<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>