Essential is releasing a wired headphone jack accessory

Essential is releasing a wired headphone jack accessory

Essential has been nearly radio silent since reports surfaced late last month that Andy Rubin was looking for a buyer for his hardware startup. The company didn’t really confirm or deny the rumors — or say much else for that matter. A few weeks later, the company does have some news — but it’s not what you were most likely expecting.

The startup just dropped the second modular accessory for its first smartphone. The Audio Adapter HD features a built-in amp and the ability to play back MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a hi-res streaming audio technology. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, because everything that’s old is new again.

The new add-on is set to drop at some point this summer. The company has also teamed up with Tidal. The streaming service has also reportedly had some issues of late, though, for its part, the company did offer a more outright denial. The partnership gives new and existing Essential customers a three-month trial subscription of Tidal’s HiFi service — a taste of what they’ve been missing with their low bit rates.

The company has declined to provide pricing for the add-on. Its first mod, the 360-degree camera, retailed for $200 at launch, though that price has since dropped considerably on retailers like Amazon — much like the Essential phone itself. As with the camera, the Audio Adapter HD feels like a niche, compared to mods from Motorola, which include things like battery packs and speakers.

At the very least, however, it does show that there’s still some life left in the Essential line.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Andy Rubin’s Essential is reportedly up for sale and has cancelled work on its next smartphone

Andy Rubin’s Essential is reportedly up for sale and has cancelled work on its next smartphone

Essential, the smartphone company helmed by Android co-creator Andy Rubin, is trying to sell itself and has cancelled development of its next phone, Bloomberg reports.

The report states that Essential has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise them on potentially selling itself. The company raised $330 million from investors, including Rubin’s own Playground Global, Tencent Holdings and the Amazon Alexa Fund. The news of a potential sale accompanies news that the company has ended development on its next smartphone, a major blow for a company aimed to challenge companies like Apple and Samsung with a device that it hoped would hold its own.

“We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits,” an Essential spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products.”

The Essential phone went on sale in August for $699 with a bold, reduced bezel design that was soon present on a variety of smartphones. A report from IDC suggested that the company only sold 88,000 phones in 2017. Sluggish sales prompted the company to slash $200 off the price of the phone just months later, earning it a price that one of my colleagues called the “best deal in smartphones.”

Though Essential’s smartphone is still on sale, without a clear plan to continue their smartphone line, it’s pretty dubious how they’ll continue their dream of a unified experience centered around the company’s ambient OS. The company has already detailed some of their work on Essential Home, a home assistant hub that would include a circular display that could also deliver visual notifications.

Essential was always setting itself up for a David/Goliath battle, but it seems that nine months after showing off their flagship smartphone they’ve realized they weren’t quite ready to go up against the giants.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Essential’s first handset is coming to more markets

Essential’s first handset is coming to more markets

It’s hard launching a phone company — something Essential was pretty candid about from the start. Andy Rubin’s latest endeavor got off to something of a slow start, according to outside accounts, but today the well-funded hardware startup is getting ready to add a whole bunch of new markets to its online store.

On Twitter today, the company announced a handful of key additions to its coverage map, including Canada, France, Japan and the U.K. As Engadget notes, availability in some of those markets already exists, but not through the company’s own shop, most notably Canada, where users can pick up the handset via Amazon or Telus.

There are also some country-specific caveats here. Those can be found through the company’s Terms of Service, which notes that the handset is now also available in Germany.

It’s been a slow roll out for the company, but understandably so. It’s not easy starting this kind of endeavor from scratch, even with the $300 million in funding the company managed to drum up. Essential spent its first year primarily focused on its home market, delivering Amazon and Best Buy availability, along with a Sprint deal.

Building distribution channels this time out should ease some of the burden of launching when the time comes to deliver version 2.0.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Essential really wants to solve the screen notch problem

Essential really wants to solve the screen notch problem
In a way, Essential is something of a pioneer. Before the iPhone X helped the world reluctantly embrace the screen notch, the company proudly displayed one atop its first flagship. Since then, of course, it’s become a feature, not a bug, with a long list of companies rushing to embrace it on their latest flagship. […]

Source: Mobile – Techcruch