back to article Andy Rubin teases next week's launch of Essential phone

Android creator Andy Rubin has been running in stealth mode with his forthcoming smartphone startup Essential, but has now released a teaser picture of his new handset. Next week the startup will unveil its first comms device, and judging from the silhouette image, it's going to look very odd indeed. The handset follows the …

  1. Sampler

    A bespoke interconnect you say? I can see that working well.

    What's wrong with making it usb-c and therefore more appealing to the mass market and more likely to gain traction and adoption, see Motorola mods for what not to do.

    1. Sampler

      And of course, who needs and interconnect anyway when you have bluetooth and wifi, this chap makes some very good points:

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The only issue (albeit a big issue) with Moto's Mods are that they are proprietary to Moto. Specifically, the physical connector is proprietary, built atop a standard called GreyBus.

        USB C isn't as elegant a solution for adding a battery pack, keyboard, IR camera, 3D scanner etc as a magnetic connector on the rear panel of the phone is.

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Bluetooth is suitable only for very low bandwidth devices. It is next to useless with cameras, external storage or tethering beyond 2G EDGE.

        Setting up adhoc wifi between devices is not as simple as pairing Bluetooth devices, and you'll also lose your network wifi access. If you are proposing connecting devices via wireless access point then you're confined to your home wireless.

        USB-C only specifies the connector. You could still be capped at USB 2.0 speed without alt mode, power delivery etc.

        The phone manufacturers should just team up and start to standardize to Thunderbolt 3 and come up with standardized (magnetic? mechanical?) mounting for peripherals akin to VESA mount.

        Unlikely to happen for many reasons. Apple probably won't play ball and what's there for the big manufacturers unless they were to profit from all this in short term? The market would be instantly flooded with cheap 3rd party devices - who would buy e.g. the Samsung/LG peripheral when the cheap no-name knockoff will suffice?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          GreyBus is a standard that allows Android phones to treat peripheral resources as internal components, akin to how Thunderbolt allows peripheral components to be seen as being on the computer's PCIe bus.

          USB Type C is a physical connector that supports various protocols. Thunderbolt is a protocol that has used USB A (Sony), Display Port (Apple and others) and USB C connectors (ditto) over the years.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Bluetooth is suitable only for very low bandwidth devices. It is next to useless with cameras, external storage or tethering beyond 2G EDGE.

          Total BS. Bluetooth goes up to 25Mbps. I regularly bluetooth gteather a 4G iphone to a MacBook for transferring files and working on servers. No problem at all and much faster than most public wi-fi. I even have video calls - not a glitch.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Bluetooth goes up to 25Mbps.

            Actually, Bluetooth 5 will go up to 50 Mb/s with increased range (it effectively manages an ah-hoc wifi setup to do this but includes the control channel that wifi has sadly always lacked). Apparently the S8 already supports Bluetooth 5.

          2. Sandtitz Silver badge

            "Total BS. Bluetooth goes up to 25Mbps."

            I stand corrected then. What is your exact configuration? Macbook 201x and which phone?

            Any pointers how I could speed up my iPhone 6 and "Intel AC7260 +BT4.0 Combo" to speeds above ~2Mbps?

  2. Barry Rueger

    Just to save time....

    Harrumph! If it doesn't have a removable battery and SD slot I won't buy it!

    (Could the protuberance be related to tele-dildonics? Or Augmented Reality Dildonics?)

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: Just to save time....

      You mean Highly Augmented Reality Dildonics, shurely?

      People always fail to grasp these things even when they are right in front of their face.


  3. techSage


    Looks like the antenna for a satellite-based phone. Would that be a first for Android?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Satphone?

      Might be, but it is such a niche that's understandable if true. You can't make a sat phone mass market because there isn't enough satellite capacity, and the target market shrinks every year.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Could be many things

    It could be a physical reminder to Iphone users that a phone must be held in a certain way in order to avoid antenna issues :-)

    It could be a solar black matter self powered infinite charger.

    It could be a holographic projector so that we could also see the other party of calls being made by obnoxiuos people in public places.

    It could be a self encrypting satelitte coms device that the NSA would really love to be in the hands of the population.

    It could be a self cloaking device that refuses Google/facebook/Microsoft telemetrics.

    It could be a anti-rounded corner implementation to avoid patent problems.

    The mind boggles....

    1. Duffy Moon

      Re: Could be many things

      I reckon that it's either a miniature RADAR dome, or a small drone which detaches and is controlled by the phone.

      You read it here first.

      Probably also last.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe that's a camera protuberance?

    Either a much larger lens than other phones have, or it is round for capturing 360* all at once? Either way, the market has spoken loud and clear for at least 15 years that people don't want stuff sticking out of their phones. People complain about 1mm camera lens bumps, few will tolerate that ugly nub - other than maybe as a gimmick for compulsive selfie takers who might like a better lens and/or 360* FOV.

    The 'phone designed for custom add ons' trick has been tried several times before, and always failed. I see no reason why this should succeed. Especially since this will either be running a proprietary OS and fail for that reason, or will run Android + "secret sauce" which is a market where people generally reject proprietary extensions, be they hardware or software.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe that's a camera protuberance?

      It does not matter what the 'bump' is. People will hope that it is a heck of a lot better than any current Android phone (learning by past mistakes perhaps?).

      I really hope it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe that's a camera protuberance?

        Weird, as I used to have an iPhone, and every Android device I have owned since is vastly superior, specifically a LG G4, now a Pixel.

        Perhaps you bought crap Android phones? or live in their weird world where iTards are more than happy to try and compare a £100 Android phone with a £800 iPhone, and then assume every other Android phone is just like that £100 one...

        "I had a car that wasn't a BMW once (an Austin Allegro), that therefore means all cars that aren't BMW are automatically as bad as the Allegro"...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Why would anyone want a 360 camera? Oh wait, Android is back-doored by the NSA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      You meant Android is backdoored by Google, right? Anyway Google would like to see 360° around you. Its "AI" could then easily identify every people and every brand in the image - and build a better consumer profile of you.

      Maybe this guy needs to enlarge is French bakery, and will soon sell the blueprints to Google again.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Congratulations they've reinvented the Gameboy Camera

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bulge looks like a camera to me...

    Open image in GIMP and menu Colours > Auto > Equalise

    1. danR2

      Re: Bulge looks like a camera to me...

      Yep, you're right. It's already been posted under the original Twitter image. Just have click on Reg's image. It's almost certainly a 360.

      Is that all he's got? I'd be expecting: The phone you will never see in the dreaded news articles

      "Phone exploit"

      "Kremlin has your dirty pictures"

      "NSA can control your fitness app"

      "All your iris/retina/fingerprint are belong to us"


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bulge looks like a camera to me...

      I am disappoint. I had hoped it was a fold down flap to cover the front camera, thus giving that added feeling of security for non-narcissists.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bulge looks like a camera to me...

        Guess the only question is whether that ridiculous thing is always there, or that is one of those magnetic add ons. One would hope/assume the latter.

        I expect lots of hype about how this is the "next big thing" in phones, and how Apple and Samsung are now hopelessly behind and must play catch up, just like the last couple times modular phones were introduced and failed miserably!

    3. poohbear

      Re: Bulge looks like a camera to me...

      Ah. Finally a phone with built-in sonar. Should be big in the young couples or teenage girls market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bulge looks like a camera to me...

        Finally a phone with built-in sonar. Should be big in the young couples or teenage girls market.

        Think about new markets, where cheaper tech creates new uses! Like constipated people, giving themselves an ultrasound scan to detect when relief will be delivered.

  9. Androgynous Cow Herd

    The march of progress

    You mean to tell me that he managed to put a camera INSIDE a cell phone?! Amazing what they can do these days.

  10. The Other Carl


    The big surprise is that this is NOT a silhouette. That's actually what it looks like. There's no display, which saves a ton of money. It's a big-ass speaker and everything is done through audio.

    The bump on the top is the tweeter, of course.

  11. Mikel

    Andy has had a long run

    He used to be too far ahead of the curve. WebTV, acquired by Microsoft and destroyed. Danger Inc, acquired by Microsoft and destroyed. Android Inc, acquired by Google and found a little success.

    He's got plenty of money now. Must be nice to get to work on whatever you want.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a detachable dildo to remind you that using a smartphone is tantamount to taking it from behind by your government.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty impressive

    However the lack of bezel puts me off, bezels are there for a reason..

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