Andy Rubin teases new Essential phone with ‘radically different’ form factor


If you're worried that the design of a non-folding smartphone has become outdated and familiar in recent years, Essential's next Android handset might be just what you are looking for.

In a series of surprise Tweets Today, Andy Rubin, CEO of Essential Products, has unveiled a prototype of the company's Essential Phone follow-up that tweets numerous images and even a video.

In a statement released by 9to5Google, the company confirmed that it "is working on a new device being tested with our team outside the lab and we look forward to publishing more information in the near future."

Currently the coming phone is simply referred to as "GEM". It has a long and sleek design and by 2019 is about half the width of an average smartphone. So far, the handset has been shown in four different color options.

On the front of the device, we see what Rubin calls a "New UI for a completely different form factor." One picture shows lots of stacked apps on a single screen and another picture shows an unspecified and scaled map app – you can check both below.

Image 1 of 2

Stacked apps in Essential's GEM interface

(Credit: Andy Rubin)

Picture 2 of 2

The GEM phone from Essential

Essential's map app takes us a long and lonely journey

(Credit: Andy Rubin)

While Apple's iPhone X triggered the madness of "Display Notch", it should be noted that the original Essential Phone was the first to implement a screen excerpt for its front-facing camera.

This time, however, Essential seems to be inspired by Samsung because the GEM prototype has a pinhole camera cutout in the upper left corner of the device.

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Initial reports indicated that the Essential Phone 2 may have an in-screen camera, so either these plans have changed or there is a genuine Essential Phone follower in addition to the GEM.

Along with the above images, Rubin has also published a video showing the GEM devices from behind to better demonstrate the "Colorshift" material, which actually changes the hue when viewed from different angles.

No release dates are available for the upcoming device, although we expect an official announcement in the near future.

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