Sprint to Sell Rubin's Essential Phone As an Exclusive
Essential Products has found a U.S. carrier to distribute its Essential PH-1 handset, and that carrier is Sprint. Essential still plans to offer the unlocked phone directly to consumers online, but the handset will also enjoy retail presence in Sprint stores, according to USAToday. "We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was,” said Essential President Niccolo de Masi to USA Today. "I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future." This isn't the only reason. Sprint is majority owned by SoftBank, and Andy Rubin, Essential's CEO, has a long history with Masayoshi Son, SoftBank's CEO. As recently as early this year, SoftBank was expected to make a $100 million investment in Essential, though it backed out for unknown reasons. "It's certainly conscious for us to work with partners that can make an investment in supporting our brand ambitions," continued to de Masi, "and it's an approach that obviously Andy Rubin has been very successful with in the past as well as a lot of our management team." The PH-1 has a unique, magnet-based system for accepting modular attachments, such as a 360-degree camera, on the back panel. It includes a 5.7-inch quad HD screen with curved corners, Snapdragon 835 processor, and dual rear cameras. It will run a near-stock version of Android 7 Nougat and ship completely devoid of brand names or logos. The PH-1 is expected to go on sale later this summer for $699.
Andy Rubin's Essential PH-1 Boasts Titanium Frame, Magnetic Mods
Essential Products, the startup being run by Andy Rubin, who helped create the Android operating system, announced its first smartphone today, the PH-1. The PH-1 is a high-end handset crafted from a titanium shell that Rubin claims is more robust than aluminum and more resistant to damage when dropped.
Essential Moves Closer to Phone Debut, But Still No Date
Essential Products says it will reveal the launch date of its PH-1 smartphone within one week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company first said the phone would launch within 30 days of its initial debut, which took place back in May.
Essential's Camera App Given New Portrait Mode
Essential Products has updated the camera app for the PH-1 smartphone and in so doing added several new features. To start, the app now includes a portrait mode, allowing people to take images of friends and family with blurred backgrounds.
Essential Phone Makes More Improvements to Its Camera
Essential Products today pushed an update to the camera application for the Essential Phone. The update "adds Auto-HDR, a new HDR algorithm that improves camera performance and scene rendering, dynamic HDR and Flash indicators, and various stability fixes," said Essential Products through its Twitter account.
Sprint Taking Preorders for the Essential PH-1
Sprint today began accepting preorders for the Essential PH-1 smartphone. Sprint is offering the phone at a significant savings through its lease program when compared to buying the phone outright directly from Essential.