Essential Buys Newton Mail Maker CloudMagic

Posted on December 7, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Hardware, Mobile with 5 Comments

Hands-On with Newton for Windows 10

Struggling smartphone maker Essential has purchased the company that makes the recently-canceled Newton Mail app, suggesting that it is moving to a more software- and services-based strategy.

“We are always on the lookout for companies with great technology and talent to help accelerate our product roadmap,” an Essential statement notes, confirming the purchase.

Essential, as you may know, started with a bang in mid-2017 because it was founded by Android creator Andy Rubin. But its first hardware product, a smartphone, sold poorly and was one of that year’s most high-profile failures.

Since then, Essential canceled plans for a second-generation smartphone and has suffered from layoffs as well as various vague strategy changes.

CloudMagic, meanwhile, made an email application called Newton and had apparently attracted about 40,000 paying customers. But the firm called it quits in August, leaving Newton enthusiasts—like Brad—in the lurch.

This acquisition has some hoping that Newton Mail might be making a comeback, though CloudMagic was allegedly working on other “new and innovative projects” that might have attracted Essential’s attention instead. Either way, I’m curious what this says about Essential and its product roadmap. Is the firm following in the footsteps of, say, Next, and dropping hardware for a software-based future?


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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Essential Buys Newton Mail Maker CloudMagic”

  1. skane2600

    Next was a failure as a hardware and a software company, but was somewhat redeemed by being bundled with Steve Jobs and "sold" to Apple. Nobody is interested in Essential whether bundled with Andy Rubin or not.

  2. FalseAgent

    how do they even have the money to buy another company?

  3. MacLiam

    I suspect they are hedging bets by looking at a some-of-each strategy rather than shifting to an all-software/no-hardware business plan. The Essential phone didn't look bad to me, just a little under-featured for its price. If Google simply can't put out a Pixel that meets everybody's expectations, there is room for Essential to be a player at the high end of the phone market. There are buyers who don't like Samsung's bloated version of Android and don't trust products from companies like Huawei. That's Essential's market if they can produce the wanted device at a reasonable price. And if the entire high end world market is too small, they could introduce a model called the Adequate that, with a decent camera, ought to appeal to the wider market that wants a no-frills basic Android smartphone.

    Not that I really expect them to do anything like what I hope they will.

  4. drmdub

    If I remember right, Newton charged $50 a year to use the app (it was free before that). If I'm not mistaken that's like 2 million dollars if their 40k user base is correct. Granted I doubt it is, even if my math sucks. No way there were 40k people out there that would pay that much for an email client.