Andy Rubin's ultimate goal is to have consumers use their smartphones less, the co-creator of Android and founder of Essential told Bloomberg earlier this month. The first commercially available handset made by the Palo Alto, California-based startup is meant to be the initial step toward fulfilling that vision which largely relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and related solutions, Mr. Rubin said. Essential's handsets should ultimately adopt a different operating system — possibly the Ambient OS that's set to power the company's upcoming Essential Home smart speaker — and rely on AI technologies in an effort to automate many tasks so that users don't hhaveto check their handsets every once in a while.
Mr. Rubin believes that goal will be achieved by designing solutions that are meant to learn from the feedback consumers provide them with on a plethora of levels in an effort to offer a personalized user experience and ultimately stop asking for input in most cases, thus becoming "a virtual version" of the user. It's still unclear where exactly does the Essential PH-1 fit into this vision as Mr. Rubin only said that the phone may eventually receive some of the future AI technologies that the startup is currently developing. The Essential Home will likely be more tailored toward that automated approach to notification management and similar actions, though the product still doesn't have a firm release date attached to it. For the time being, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is focusing on delivering accessories that it promised for its first flagship; the Essential 360 Degree camera will be available for purchase in the coming days and five more devices are meant to be released in the near future, including an inductive charging dock, an accessory that can relay high-quality audio to an in-car stereo system from a smartphone, and a 3D laser scanner that Mr. Rubin calls the smallest of its kind in the world, though its applications remain unclear.
The founder of Essential also revealed why the PH-1 was over a month late to the market, saying how the device still had some software bugs that needed to be resolved and was subject to a lengthy process of carrier testing, all of which ultimately affected the timing of its commercial launch. The Essential PH-1 will start shipping to U.S. consumers this week and should make its way to Europe, Japan, and possibly more markets in the coming months.