Essential, led by Android founder Andy Rubin, is shutting down


The Essential Phone PH-1 was released in 2017.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Essential Products, the mobile hardware startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, is ceasing operations and shutting down, the company said Wednesday. The company released a premium smartphone in 2017, but it failed to gain traction among buyers. Essential teased a second phone, called Project Gem, in 2019, but it never made it to market. 

“Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers,” wrote in a blog post. “Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.”

Essential declined to comment beyond the blog post.

Rubin has been mired in controversy for the last two years, after a New York Times report on sexual misconduct claims against Rubin while he was at Google. The search giant reportedly gave him a $90 million exit package and kept quiet about the accusations. Rubin has denied the claims. 

The report spurred a worldwide walkout at Google in November 2018, when more than 20,000 workers marched out of their offices to protest Google management’s handling of the accusations.  

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