|Essential Products Inc. founder Andy Rubin. / Photo by: Joi via Wikimedia Commons|
The Essential Phone 2 will not see the light of day after Essential Products Inc, the company that makes the smartphone, announced that it plans to sell itself, lock, stock and barrel, according to Mark Gurman and Alex Barinka, reporting for Bloomberg.
Essential Products, a start-up company created by Android creator Andy Rubin, had already hired Credit Suisse Group AG as the adviser for the planned sale, which had already attracted a potential buyer. But people privy to the issue said the company is actively looking for other buyers.
The company is part of Rubin’s Playground Global business incubator which had received US$300 in funding from several investors, including Amazon, Tencent Holdings, and Redpoint Ventures. It had also received investment money from Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that manufactured the Essential Phone that made its debut in 2017.
To be included in the sale are the company’s patent portfolio and product line, including the original Essential Phone, a camera attachment for the phone, and a smart home device. Its engineering and design team would also be part of the deal.
Through a Twitter post, Rubin said that they have multiple products being developed at the same time but some will be canceled to make way for bigger hits. He added that they are focusing their efforts on game-changing products for the mobile and smart home markets.
The company rolled out the Essential Phone in Aug 2017 after being delayed by several weeks. It beat Apple in bringing out a cutting-edge look with an all-screen front, which was also seen on the iPhone X. The phone had a unique casing made from ceramic materials and its Android software was similar to the version running on Google’s Pixel phones. Despite such features, the phone sold poorly after buyers voiced complaints about the phone’s camera, touchscreen, and the inability to make calls. It was also being sold for US$699, putting it in the same category as other flagship models such as the iPhone X.
At that price, Essential managed to sell only 20,000 units of the phone but sales improved when it slashed US$200 from the retail price. To date, at least 150,000 units have been sold by the company. Besides poor sales, the company was hounded by personnel problems, seeing not only its hardware and software engineers but also its top executives making an exodus for other companies.