- Essential CEO Andy Rubin on Tuesday tweeted out images of what looks to be a new kind of smartphone.
- The device would be Essential’s first smartphone in two years and comes a year after it reportedly cancelled its second model and laid off 30% of its staff.
- The new phone is long and slender and will have a new kind of user interface, Rubin said.
- Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system and a former Google executive, has largely stayed out of the public eye since a news report last year alleging that he had engaged in sexual misconduct while at the search giant.
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Android creator Andy Rubin, who’s kept a low profile since a report a year ago about his alleged sexual misconduct helped set off a mass movement at Google, stepped out of the shadows on Tuesday.
Posting on Twitter for the first time since July, Rubin, the CEO of device maker Essential, tweeted out images of what looks to be a new, narrow smartphone. He didn’t give its name, a date for when it might be released, or say much about it at all. Instead, he just tweeted out a video and two photographs and indicated that the device would be different from other phones on the market, with an innovative user interface, or UI.
“New UI for radically different formfactor,” Rubin said in a tweet.
In an email, Essential spokeswoman Shari Doherty confirmed the company has a new gadget in the works, but didn’t offer any additional details.
“We’ve been working on a new device that’s now in early testing with our team outside the lab,” Doherty said in the email. “We look forward to sharing more in the near future.”
The new device is long and narrow, shaped something like a candy bar or an iPod nano. It has a bulge on its back for what looks to be a camera and comes in at least four metallic finishes that appear to change colors as the viewing angle changes.
—Andy Rubin (@Arubin) October 8, 2019
Rubin has hinted about a new device before
Rubin unveiled the first Essential phone to much fanfare two years ago. Despite the phone’s pedigree, it sold poorly and Essential reportedly cancelled a second model last year and laid off 30% of its staff.
However, Rubin, a former Google executive who led the company’s development of Android, has hinted at least twice this year that Essential had another device in the works.
“We’ll make an announcement. Hang tight,” he said in June in response to a call from a Twitter use to make another phone.
Responding to another Twitter user wondering if Essential was “going to have a second act,” Rubin in April said: “What do you think we’re doing over here? We’re a consumer products company. We engineer cool stuff. Eventually, cool stuff gets launched. You’ll see.”
That tweet was his first since October, when he weighed in on an article The New York Times published detailing how Google had paid him a $90 million severance package after he was accused of coercing a fellow employee at the search giant of performing oral sex. Rubin on Twitter denied the accusation, calling it and other parts of the story “false allegations” that were part of “a smear campaign against him.”
That article helped to touch off a campaign at Google to address sexual harassment and discrimination, including a massive global walkout by company workers.
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