Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Launch AI-Focused, Bezel-less Premium Smartphone

Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Launch AI-Focused, Bezel-less Premium Smartphone

It’s been over two years since Andy Rubin left Google, and now the creator of Android himself is planning to release his new take on smartphones and the future of computing platforms through the high-stakes industry of consumer hardware.

With a company named “Essential Products Inc” registered under his name and 40-some employees, Andy Rubin’s smartphone could come as early as mid-2017.

Essential Products Inc is, essentially, a platform company aiming to tie multiple devices together, and in doing so they are designing a smartphone to act as its centerpiece. Sources told Bloomberg that this smartphone (which was first talked about by The Information)  would place focus on artificial intelligence to improve the user experience, being the latest (and perhaps newest) player to adopt this trend. It’s technically unclear whether this new smartphone will run on Android, but we can’t currently picture anything else; what we have heard about is the device’s hardware, though, and the design that Andy Rubin’s company is aiming for with their new endeavor. By targeting the premium market to compete with Google’s Pixel and Apple’s iPhone, this upcoming device is tipped to have a “bezel-less” body with a screen larger than 5.5-inches (at least in one prototype), making for a body smaller than that of Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus and, through induction we can say that it’s smaller than that of the Pixel XL as well.

Moreover, this new device is said to come with a proprietary magnetic connector for charging the device that would also serve as a way for users to expand upon the base hardware, similar to some of the “modular” phones of 2016. The only example mentioned in Bloomberg’s article is a 360-degree camera, but more interesting designs could come about from such a port. Furthermore, sources say the phone is being designed with metal edges and a ceramic back, a material that’s difficult to manufacture but has been employed on devices such as the OnePlus X and the recently-released Xiaomi Mi MIX, which looks to be a source of inspiration for this alleged release.

Essential Products is reportedly on talks with potential partners such as carriers and is likely establishing relationships with manufacturing firms like Foxconn, who could be building this device according to people familiar with the matter. Former Google and colleagues and Apple managers are said to be helping run the project, and former senior Google software manager Jason Keats. Zavin is reportedly running software for Rubin. Brian Wallace, a former Samsung and Magic Leap executive, is supposedly leading marketing too.

With such a strong team in place, prospects are exciting; if the renowned track record of its makers wasn’t enough, Andy Rubin’s new phone is looking to ride many of the trends that will dominate the industry — bezels, AI, hardware expandability. We are excited to learn more about this endeavor and hope to see some concrete information in the coming months.

Source: Bloomberg

Image credit: VentureBeat

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Mario Tomás Serrafero
Mario Tomás Serrafero

Mario developed his love for technology in Argentina, where a flagship smartphone costs a few months of salary. Forced to maximize whatever device he could get, he came to know and love XDA. Quantifying smartphone metrics and creating benchmarks are his favorite hobbies. Mario holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics and currently spends most of his time classifying cat and dog pictures as a Data Science graduate student.