Last we heard of Andy Rubin and his plans to manufacture a smartphone was back in January, when a report revealed that the Android co-creator was planning to launch a premium device around mid-2017. Looks like the report might have been accurate as we now have a glimpse of the upcoming device, posted to Twitter by Rubin himself.
Hoping this is not an early April Fool’s prank and that we get some respite from the smartphone fatigue that plagues the market currently, the device teased by Rubin seems to sport a bezel-less design. As you can see in the image above, only one corner of the smartphone is visible as of now. Looks like it is a relatively thin device with a large display. The date, time and network icons indicate that the smartphone is LTE enabled and probably runs on pure Android OS. The volume rocker-like button is seen on the right side of the phone as well.
Since the top bezels are so thin, we don’t think the teased smartphone houses a front-facing camera on top. Rather, it may have the front camera placed at the bottom, similar to the Xiaomi Mi Mix. Here’s Rubin’s entire Tweet pasted below.
I'm really excited about how this is shaping up. Eager to get it in more people's hands... pic.twitter.com/LRzQCFSKTm— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) March 27, 2017
Rubin is expected to launch the above shown smartphone under his Essential brand. Essential Products is a startup that was created by Rubin in 2015, and aims to produce consumer hardware products including smartphones, tablets, smart home devices and other mobile devices. Earlier reports had indicated that the smartphone will have a 5.5 inch edge-to-edge display. The display may also feature pressure-sensitive inputs, similar to iPhone’s 3D Touch.
A modular design was also rumoured earlier, as Bloomberg reported the smartphone will have “the ability to gain new hardware features over time.” Although we don’t see any modular functionality in the teased image. Maybe the lack of the front camera on top does open up the possibility of inclusion of a separate camera mod.
As per benchmarks of a phone named Essential FIH-PM1 leaked on Geekbench, Rubin’s device will run on Android 7.0 Nougat. Keeping with trends, the bezel-free smartphone is expected to feature some AI capabilities. Rubin’s previous startup, Playground Global, is a known AI and robotics incubator. Learnings from the same are expected to trickle down to Essential and the upcoming premium device.