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New Essential Phone Teased with 'Radically Different' Design

Essential Gem Phone
(Image credit: Essential)

The creator of Android hasn't found much success making smartphones since leaving Google, but Andy Rubin is giving it another shot. Rubin teased photos and videos of a very, very strange-looking device on Twitter Tuesday (Oct. 8), leaving followers to wonder if his Essential Products startup will be releasing Essential Phone 2 soon.

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If you don't remember the first Essential Phone, well, you're not the only one. The much-hyped device didn't end up catching on in the mainstream, and the few who did buy the phone experienced serious issues with its camera and performance.

But Rubin, who left Google in 2014 after reports of sexual harassment, has been teasing an Essential Phone follow-up for months. (Rubin has denied both the harassment claims and the amount of the payout the New York Times reported he received from Google.)

Essential Phone 2 (or whatever Rubin has named this phone) looks like nothing we've seen before. Well, that's not exactly true — it looks like what would happen if Rubin had asked Huawei to design a TV remote. The extra-long device appears to have a touchscreen face with a lengthy UI to match. Apps appear as cards stacked on top of each other; in one photo, Rubin appears to be running Uber, Calendar, Maps and Weather simultaneously. 

And when you flip the phone over, the aesthetic is positively Huawei-esque. Like Huawei's flagships, the Essential Phone 2 sports a color gradient effect that appears to change hues as the light changes.

It's unclear if or when this phone will hit store shelves, but we're intrigued and a little bit skeptical. Stay tuned for more details.