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Get Ready for a Phone From the Co-Founder of Android


You'll soon get to feast your eyes on a new smartphone from one of the guys responsible for the operating system that's probably running on your current one.

A teaser image of Essential's upcoming phone (Credit:Essential)

A teaser image of Essential's upcoming phone (Credit:Essential)

Andy Rubin co-founded Android, but since leaving Google, he's started a hardware design lab that includes his own smartphone-making startup called Essential. And from the sound of things on Twitter, Essential looks like it's ready to take the wraps off its first phone next week.

May 30, the date teased by Essential in that tweet, also happens to be when Andy Rubin is slated to appear at the Code Conference in Southern California, just in case you wanted to set your calendar.

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Essential and Rubin have been hinting at more than just dates. In March, Rubin tweeted out a teaser image of Essential's phone, which looks to be following the trend of edge-to-edge displays already seen on devices like LG's G6 and Samsung's Galaxy S8. (The iPhone 8, which we're unlikely to see before the fall, will also sport a bezel-free display, according to reports.)

There could be more to the Essential phone than just an expanded display. A follow-up tweet to the May 30 announcement included a silhouetted image of the phone with what looks to be some sort of camera attachment. CNBC's Todd Haselton worked a little Photoshopping magic on that image, lightening it to reveal what looks like a 360-degree camera attachment or an augmented reality accessory.

The possibility of a 360-degree camera would square with another Andy Rubin teaser tweet of a colleague at Essential working with what appears to be 360-degree images. AR is also a possibility as more phones have looked to incorporate the ability to overlay virtual objects onto real world images using a phone's built-in camera. That's at the heart of Google's Tango project, which currently has one phone on the market with the Asus ZenFone AR set to join it later this summer. Apple is rumored to be making an AR push with the iPhone 8, too.

Whatever Rubin and Essential have planned for their phone, it seems that we won't have to wait very long to find out.