Exclusively another stab at making phone modular, the Essential Phone, brought to use by the founder who created Android, is finally ready for the spotlight. Andy Rubin has announced two debut Essential products today: a modular, Android-powered smartphone, and an Amazon Echo competitor, Essential Home speaker, though. It’s an incredibly audacious and ambitious project, with an outlandish screen and the beginnings of a modular ecosystem. Here’s everything you need to know.
First, the Android phone basics. The Essential Phone costs $699 with top-of-the-line specs and features. The modular and logo-less design includes a 5.71-inch edge-to-edge QHD display that runs from a very high end of the phone to almost the very bottom. In fact, it prominently features an bezel-less screen that one-ups even the Samsung Galaxy S8 by bringing it all the way to the top of the phone, wrapping around the front-facing selfie camera, with a little cutout making room for its lens to poke through.
Albeit the phone is made of titanium and ceramic, making it more capable of living up to the wear and tear of daily live “without blemish, unlike the aluminum competitor devices,” according to the company. It’s a unique take on a big screen that makes the phone stand out, and smart, too. However, the status bar at the top of an Android phone doesn’t fill that middle space with icons, so its efficient enough. The screen does leave some bezel at the bottom of the phone, though it’s as clone to the whole front of the phone being display.
Essential is launching the phone in the US to start, and that should make it work on all major carriers, alongside usual Android flagship internals such as Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There is also a modular element to this hardware that hasn’t to be ignored anyway. Via two magnetic pins on the rear of the device, additional features and functionality can be added to “keep your phone cord-free, future-proof, and always up-to-date.” Currently the “Click” connector is being used to hook up the company’s 360-degree camera view and phone dock, and of course, more accessories are in the works for.
Featuring a USB-C connector and no headphone jack, the Essential Phone features more. Camera-wise, its 13-megapixel rear-mounted dual lens sensor should have enough to take the kinds of photos we have until now become accustomed to from smartphones in 2017. For selfies, there is an 8MP camera to keep you more than satisfied.
Essential is clearly planning to releasing a very well-made phone: where the screen looks promising, it has no annoying logos, and its built with a combination of titanium and ceramic so that it can survive a drop test. And the company is aiming to build an ecosystem of accessories for the Essential Phone. It’s possible that other audio accessories could be made that could clip on to the magnetic accessory port.
The Essential Phone also has a good take on a duos camera systems, rather than use the second lens for telephoto or bokeh, it’s using it for monochrome sensor, just like what Huawei has been doing with the P9 and P10. The second sensor will be able to take in more light than a traditional color camera, combined with the regualr 13MP camera for better low-light shots. Expectations too points at, the 8-megapixel sensor that can also capture 4K video.
Set to become available later this summer in Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Pure White, and Ocean Depths colors, the Essential Phone will come running some form of Android OS, but there no details on offer right now. Presumably, Essential’s grander ambitions are equally durable, though it’s impossible to look at just this phone outside the context of Essential’s other announcements: the Essential Home and its Ambient OS.
Moving on to the Essential Home speaker, the device is a typical Amazon Echo rival, but with slightly different form factor. A round device with a sloping top made up of a touch screen, which this device allow users to control music, ask questions and control home automation devices around the house. Essential also says that interaction can be via voice, the touch sensitive screen or even a glance which suggests some authentication of facial recognition is in the use.
Essential Home is powered by an in-house software called Ambient OS, bringing with it support for SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest and other standards in use by home automation equipment. Pricing for the new device essentially has not ben confirmed, but a release is expected later this summer. Stay tuned for more!
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