The smartphone company started by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is shutting down.
Essential only ever released one smartphone. But since the Essential PH-1 hit the streets in 2017, it’s been one of the most well-supported Android phones on the market. Essential pushed out Android OS updates and monthly security updates the same day they were released by Google.
But the company never managed to bring another phone to market, despite ambitious plans to try to produce something truly original.
Now the company is closing up shop.
Not only does that mean that we won’t see any new products from Essential. But the end has already come for the Essential PH-1. Sort of.
The company notes that customers’ phones will continue to function indefinitely. But the February 3rd security update will be the last one the company ever releases. So over time, the phone may become vulnerable to bugs and malware.
Essential says it will also no longer offer customer support for the phone, and customers using Newton Mail will lose access to the service after April 30th, 2020.
That said, the phone is relatively hacker-friendly for those that want to unlock the bootloader and install custom ROMs to stay up to date. There’s a relatively active hacker community for the Essential Phone at the xda-developers forum, and Essential says it will leave a prebuilt vendor image and other open source software online at github.