Andy Rubin’s Start-Up, Essential Products, Shuts Down
Mr. Rubin helped popularize using keyboards on telephones when he launched the Sidekick machine in 2002. He went on to develop Android, which was acquired by Google in 2005. Android software program now runs on about 80 % of the world’s smartphones.
In 2018, Essential obtained buyout curiosity from bigger corporations like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and several other telecom carriers, in keeping with an individual accustomed to the scenario who was not approved to talk on behalf of the corporate. Wal-Mart and Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Any potential buyout would have valued the corporate under its $1 billion valuation, the individual mentioned.
But curiosity evaporated, partially due to the chance related to Mr. Rubin’s office scandals. In 2017, The Information, a expertise information web site, reported that Mr. Rubin had departed Google after an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, prompting him to take a go away of absence from Essential to take care of “personal matters.”
By the time The Times investigation into his departure from Google was revealed in October 2018, Essential was already experiencing difficulties. The firm slashed the value of its first telephone after disappointing gross sales. It dropped plans to construct a house machine and laid off a lot of workers, lowering its work pressure by the tip of the 12 months to fewer than 50 from round 120.
Essential will likely be shutting with round $30 million in money remaining, the individual accustomed to the scenario mentioned. Investors, a few of whom had written off the funding after Mr. Rubin’s scandals, will get “pennies on the dollar” again, the individual mentioned.
Essential’s determination to close down comes a number of months after Mr. Rubin tweeted a photograph of what seemed to be the corporate’s subsequent telephone, which the corporate referred to as Project Gem. The elongated telephone — in quite a lot of shiny colours — had a protracted, skinny display resembling a sweet bar.
The handset was speculated to be a so-called companion telephone, in keeping with former workers accustomed to the challenge. It was supposed to free folks from being overly reliant on smartphones and would permit them to make use of a smaller machine for duties like sending and responding to messages utilizing synthetic intelligence and voice controls, mentioned the previous workers, who declined to be recognized as a result of they didn’t have permission to discuss Essential merchandise.