Essential unveils new phone with "radically different" form factor

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Former Google executive Rubin, now CEO of Essential Products, tweeted out images showing a prototype phone called Project Gem. The most noticeable detail is the long and thin design—it’s about half the width of a standard smartphone.

Rubin also highlighted the new UI for Gem’s “radically different” form factor. It appears to consist of several card-style apps packed onto the display and some pretty hefty on-screen buttons. We also see a volume rocker and power button on the right side, while the rear shows what looks like a fingerprint sensor and a large, single camera.

While it might have been Apple’s iPhone X that started the trend for smartphones with notches, it was the original Essential phone that first sported a cutout in the display. With the successor, it seems Essential has turned to the newer pinhole-style of cutout.

Another feature of the phone is the four reflective “colorshift material” rears, which change color depending on the angle you’re viewing them. Additionally, the phone is rumored to be controlled mainly through voice commands, with an AI assistant performing many of the tasks.

“We’ve been working on a new device that’s now in early testing with our team outside the lab. We look forward to sharing more in the near future,” Essential said, in a statement.

Rubin left Google in 2014 following accusations of sexual harassment and coercion, which he denies. After founding Essential, the company launched the PH-1, which received some mixed reviews. It didn’t sell very well and the promised modules never really arrived. The phone was discontinued in December.

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mongeese

TS Addict
Staff member
Once again, Essential has got possibly the most interesting handset on the market; I do think it'll make quite a splash. On the other hand they've already made unrecoverable errors: they've only shown pictures leaving everyone's first impression as 'what the hell is a skinny screen good for?' and additionally, Andy Rubin's tweets immediately before the tweet about the Gem are him denying allegations of sexual assault. Pretty ineffectually as well, as he's ignoring the bulk of what the New York Times accused him of. I certainly couldn't buy a product from him as it stands, I wonder how many people feel the same?
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
WTH am I suppose to do with a TINY skinny screen? Looks more like a tv remote control. The OLDER I get the LARGER the screen I want. Back in 2010, when screens were 3.5", I bought a HUGE (at the time), 5" Dell Streak phone. Now, I have a 6.5" screen phone. What are people suppose to use these things for?
And of course, with that goofy color scheme on the back, they will overprice this, and it will be another loss for Essential, dump them on Amazon. I got a PH-1, when they had a fire sale on them at Amazon, but had to stop using it because of the weak signal issue.
 

netman

TS Evangelist
I kinda like it...I know that it would eliminate the pain on the palm of my left thumb by holding wider cell phones of today's offerings for too long specially in the upside down position....!