Essential, a startup Android cofounder Andy Rubin formed, has raised $300 million in funding, backed by investors the likes of Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn.
That means reports back in June were true. With new money in its coffers, Rubin's company can push its Essential PH-1 smartphone forward.
Rubin also shared some photos showing the production process, with stacks of what looks to be PH-1's outer frames being carried away by a mechanical carousel. Despite the release next week, Essential has spoken very little of its phone. There have been some speculations that it could be another case of vaporware, but we've already seen the hardware and gotten a look at its spec sheet, so everything seems to be in order.
Essential PH-1 Specs
The Essential PH-1 will rival Apple's iPhone 8 and Samsung's Galaxy S8. It boasts a lot of the usual flair: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, Adreno 540 for graphics, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of onboard storage, and a 3,040 mAh battery for juice, just a tad bit more than the Galaxy S8's 3,000 mAh capacity.
Its design is fairly unusual, though, which might definitely look bothersome for other people. There's a 5.7-inch Quad HD display, but on the topmost part sits a front-facing camera, which disrupts the shape of the screen. Going bezel-less is commendable, though, but customers have to contend with the odd design choice if they plan on purchasing the device.
The Essential PH-1 will launch exclusively via Sprint in the United States but will be available unlocked on Amazon's website, reports Business Insider. Both Essential and Best Buy will also carry the handset through their individual stores.
Is The Essential PH-1 Worth Considering?
For a lot of reasons, the Essential PH-1 looks great on paper. It seems there's really not much wrong it can do, thanks to Rubin's expertise in mobile devices. However, while it may get many things right, it's also true that other smartphones including cheaper ones have already proven their merit. Breaking into the industry with a $700 premium smartphone is a bold move, but hopefully, Rubin can pull it off.
Aside from a smartphone, Essential plans to release a smart speaker called the Essential Home, due later this year. It will compete with Google's Home and Apple's HomePod. It'll host similar features found in current smart home devices, but the pitch is different: Essential Home is tailored for interacting with various smart home ecosystems. Users will be able to use Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri to make voice commands.