Rubin on Tuesday tweeted out images of what looks to be a new
kind of smartphone.
- The device would be Essential’s first smartphone in two years
and comes a year after it reportedly cancelled its second model and
laid off 30% of its staff.
- The new phone is long and slender and will have a new kind of
user interface, Rubin said.
- Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system and a former
executive, has largely stayed out of the public eye since a news
report last year alleging that he had engaged in sexual misconduct
while at the search giant.
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Android creator Andy Rubin, who’s kept a low profile since a
report a year ago about his alleged sexual misconduct helped set
off a mass movement at Google, stepped out of the shadows on
Posting on Twitter for the first time since July, Rubin, the CEO
of device maker Essential, tweeted out
images of what looks to be a new, narrow smartphone. He didn’t
give its name, a date for when it might be released, or say much
about it at all. Instead, he just tweeted out a video and two
photographs and indicated that the device would be different from
other phones on the market, with an innovative user interface, or
“New UI for radically different formfactor,” Rubin said in a
In an email, Essential spokeswoman Shari Doherty confirmed the
company has a new gadget in the works, but didn’t offer any
“We’ve been working on a new device that’s now in early testing
with our team outside the lab,” Doherty said in the email. “We look
forward to sharing more in the near future.”
The new device is long and narrow, shaped something like a candy
bar or an iPod nano. It has a bulge on its back for what looks to
be a camera and comes in at least four metallic finishes that
appear to change colors as the viewing angle changes.
Rubin has hinted about a new device before
unveiled the first Essential phone to much fanfare two years
ago. Despite the phone’s pedigree, it
sold poorly and
Essential reportedly cancelled a second model last year and
laid off 30% of its staff.
However, Rubin, a former Google executive who led the company’s
development of Android, has hinted at least twice this year that
Essential had another device in the works.
“We’ll make an announcement. Hang tight,” he said in
June in response to a call from a Twitter use to make another
Responding to another Twitter user wondering if Essential was
“going to have a second act,” Rubin in April
said: “What do you think we’re doing over here? We’re a
consumer products company. We engineer cool stuff. Eventually, cool
stuff gets launched. You’ll see.”
That tweet was his first since October, when he
weighed in on an
article The New York Times published detailing how Google had
paid him a $90 million severance package after he was accused of
coercing a fellow employee at the search giant of performing oral
sex. Rubin on Twitter denied the accusation, calling it and other
parts of the story “false allegations” that were part of “a smear
campaign against him.”
That article helped to touch off a campaign at Google to address
sexual harassment and discrimination, including a
massive global walkout by company workers.
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