It looks as though there is about to be a new smartphone competitor in town for high-end Android phones. Andy Rubin is the creator of the Android operating system and now runs his own company.
He recently announced the brand new Essential Phone by his company, ahem, Essential. Also announced was the Essential Home, a smart home device. The device's true name is the PH-1, which isn't as catchy (or as grandiose).
When is the Essential phone release date?
The Essential phone was announced in the US on 30 May, at which point Rubin promised to get it to early adopters within 30 days. In late July he admitted that the phone was still weeks away from release, and took to Twitter to apologise for the delay.
We've been working around the clock to get our first device in your hands. See this update from Andy. pic.twitter.com/bm5xm5XRKS— Essential (@essential) July 21, 2017
According to 9to5Google we could finally see the Essential phone shipping next week. It says an email dated 16 August was sent out to those who pre-registered for the phone revealing that the company is preparing to ship the phone in the next 7 days.
The FT reports that Essential is holding talks with several UK mobile operators about the possibility of an imminent UK release.
We'll keep you updated as new details emerge.
How much will the Essential phone cost?
As a high-end phone, it’s priced at the same level as the iPhone 7, Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel. It's available in the US to pre-order for $699, with an optional 360 camera for $50 rather than $199 if you pre-order.
What features will the Essential Phone have?
Early reports appear to have been correct: the phone has an ‘edge-to-edge’ screen and the thin bezels can be seen on the prototype that Rubin tweeted at the end of March.
Of course, it’s not the only phone to have such as screen and will have to compete with the Galaxy S8 and – if the rumours are correct – the iPhone 8 in September.
The Phone will run Android, its maker's other major invention, and has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor like the HTC U11. It is made from titanium and ceramic which is unusual, and its QHD display has a resolution of 2560x1312. Dual cameras also make an appearance, with one colour and one monochrome similar to the Huawei P10.
Essential also claims that it will usher in a truly modular way of thinking about phones. Take a look at the connector dots on the rear that the 360 camera accessory attaches to below.
After the failed LG G5 and Google's Project Ara, we remain skeptical about it succeeding. Then again, this is surely a phone for Android enthusiasts, for now at least.
What else will mark out the phone, though, other than the garish green of one of the colour options?
The screen is unusually interrupted by a selfie camera which won't be to everyone's tastes, though it won't obscure anything, while the 7.8mm thickness is nothing out of the ordinary. The cameras are one colour and one monochrome sensor like on the Huawei P10, and the rear mounted fingerprint sensor confirms to what we'd expect from a 2017 flagship, much like the USB-C port.
We're still excited to get our hands on it though, even if the design is odd.
Here are the full specs:
- Android Nougat
- 19:10 5.71in 2560x1312 QHD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor
- Adreno 540 graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- Dual 13Mp rear cameras, video at 4K 30fps
- 8Mp front camera, video at 4K 30fps
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 4G LTE
- 3040mAh non-removable battery
- 141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8mm