Essential Lays Off 30 Percent of Workforce

Posted on October 18, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 16 Comments

Essential Has Allegedly Only Sold 5,000 Phones

More bad news for Essential: The struggling smartphone maker has laid off about 30 percent of its workforce.

“This has been a difficult decision to make,” an Essential statement reads. “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.”

That “sharpened product focus” bit is interesting.

When Andy Rubin’s latest venture launched its first handset, the Essential PH-1, in early 2017, it was described as the first of a suite of hardware devices that would include a smart home hub and various peripherals. But the PH-1 remains Essential’s only major release, and the firm canceled plans for a follow-up after it failed in the market, leading to questions about its future.

Recently, Essential said that it was working on a new kind of device that will come with a small screen and use voice commands as the main interaction point.

At this point, I can’t imagine Essential will ever release anything—sorry—that is particularly essential. And these new layoffs, which first reported by Bloomberg, cast further doubt on Essential’s chances for survival. According to the publication, Essential “burned through” $100 million just developing the PH-1. And the job cuts come from across the company, and impact its hardware, marketing, and sales staff.

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