Essential’s new smartphone looks like a slim TV remote

The company, founded by ex-Googler Andy Rubin, has teased a new device with a surprising new design that will probably be very hard to use. 

After leaving Google (with a following controversy), Andy Rubin founded Essential, a company vowed to create new innovative smartphones based on Android, the mobile OS he contributed to develop prior to Google’s acquisition. After the launch of its first namesake phone, which was a commercial failure despite solid innovation, great specs and an ongoing commitment to quick software updates, Essential decided to fold the launch of a second model and went silent. Now Andy Rubin has published the first teaser photo of a new product the company has been working on instead. It’s still a phone (or so we guess), although it doesn’t resemble any existing form factor. It’s called “GEM” and it’s a small smartphone with a narrow elongated screen and a shiny iridescent back cover with a single rear camera. It clearly resembles a TV remote and packs a new vertical software interface based on card-like elements. As typing on it will likely be very hard, the product will be controlled mostly through voice commands and gestures. The GEM is a bold and interesting idea, but we don’t see anyone buying into it any time soon, unless Rubin and his crew has more than a remote-like narrow design up their sleeves.


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