The company, led by Android founder Andy Rubin, launched its first smartphone over a year ago. But so far, the company has yet to release a successor. Reportedly, it’s working on an AI-powered handset.
The startup behind the Essential Phone is cutting staff.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Essential Products had laid off about 30 percent of its workforce. The affected employees were part of the company’s hardware, marketing and sales divisions.
The startup declined to confirm the number of departing staffers, but told PCMag in an email: “This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers.”
As for why the cuts were made, Essential said: “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product.”
The company, led by Android founder Andy Rubin, launched its first smartphone, the Essential Phone PH-1, a year ago back in August 2017. But so far, the vendor has yet to release a successor.
According to Bloomberg, the startup scrapped plans to release another Essential Phone over the product’s disappointing sales. Instead, the startup is focused on building an AI-powered phone that’ll largely work over voice commands, instead of a touch screen. The device will be smart enough to autonomously respond to your emails, book appointments and send text messages to your friends.
Whether the startup can make the product a reality remains to be seen. But in the meantime, the Essential Phone is still on sale through the company’s website for $499. PCMag gave it a “Good” score for it’s large display, and smooth performance. However, the layoffs at the company signal that Essential is moving away from selling a typical Android handset.