Android inventor Andy Rubin teases ‘Essential‘ phone he hopes could take on Apple and Google
The inventor of Android is set to re-enter the phone market – and believes he can take on and .
Andy Rubin has revealed the first glimpse of his firm‘s new handset.
It shows a phone with an extremely small bezel, with Rubin saying he was ‘excited to get it into more people‘s hands‘.
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Earlier this year it was reported Rubin had recruited over 40 people to his new firm, to be called Essential, according to Bloomberg.
It aims to build an entire technology ecosystem using AI – from phones and smart home gadgets to app stores.
‘Armed with about a 40-person team, filled with recruits from Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.‘s Google, Rubin is preparing to announce a new company called Essential and serve as its Chief Executive Officer, according to people familiar with the matter,‘ Bloomberg said.
A search in LinkedIn reveals several of the employees, including Niccolo De Masi, the ex-CEO of Glu Mobuile, who is listed as the firm‘s President & COO.
Rubin also recently hired Andy Fouché from Magic Leap, a Google backed firm developing AR glasses.
ANDY RUBIN‘S CAREER
Born in 1963, New Yorker Any Rubin worked on the first generation of wireless digital assistants, known as PDA.
In December 1999 he launched Danger, creator of the Hiptop, a proto-smartphone, which was later bought by Microsoft.
Rubin cofounded Android in 2003 and sold it to Google in 2005, moving to the firm.
In December 2013, Rubin started management of the robotics division of Google, before leaving on 30 October 2014 to start an incubator for hardware startups.
Rubin and his wife, Rie, also own and operate Voyageur du Temps, a bakery in Los Altos, CA.
Bloomberg claims Essential will produce an range of both home and mobile products, and Rubin discussed his handset plans with Sprint executives at the recent CES show.
Rubin registered Essential Products Inc. with California regulators in November 2015, and in late 2016, the company registered ‘Essential‘ with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
There, it listed smartphones, tablets, accessories and ‘computer operating software for mobile phones‘ among its goods and services.
According to Bloomberg, the handset will be aimed at the luxury end of the market, and could be expanded using plug in modules.
Rubin is aiming to put the phone on sale around the middle of this year for a price close to that of an iPhone 7 ($649), a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, although they admitted ‘all of the plans are still in flux‘.
Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry.
‘New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years,‘ he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June.
RUBIN‘S DOG TAKES ON A ROBOT
While at Google‘s Rubin‘s dog hit the headlines after taking on a robot.
A feisty terrier has taken on Boston Dynamics‘ ‘Spot‘ dog by barking at it and even giving chase, showing that in the event of a robot uprising, dogs will still be man‘s best friend.The dog, named Cosmo, is said to belong to Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, who has previously managed the robotics program at Google.
Google acquired Boston Dymamics, which makes numerous sized robotic animals in differing sizes, including Spot, which can run, climb stairs, jog next to its owner and even cope with being kicked.
He believes that AI in the future will go one step further – being so powerful that it underpins every connected device.
Mr Rubin said a combination of quantum computing and AI advancements could yield a conscious intelligence that would control every internet-enabled gadget.
‘If you have computing that is as powerful as this could be, you might only need one.
‘It might not be something you carry around; it just has to be conscious.‘
While Mr Rubin‘s claims are currently theoretical, his investment fund, Playground Global, is investing $300 million in companies trying to make this future of AI a reality.
One of the companies his fund is investing in, is a quantum computing firm. Its name has not been disclosed.
The company is made up of researchers who may one day be able to commercialise quantum devises using standard manufacturing processes, which could massively boost processing power.
Mr Rubin said: ‘In order for AI to blossom and fulfill consumer needs, it has to be about data.
‘That‘s where robotics come in – robots are walking mobile sensors, who can sense their environment and interact and learn from those interactions.‘
Foxconn is in talks to manufacture Rubin‘s new smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.
At least one prototype of Rubin‘s phone boasts a screen larger than the iPhone 7 Plus‘s (5.5-inches) but has a smaller overall footprint because of the lack of bezels, one of the people said.
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