For months, Andy Rubin has been teasing a new smartphone and today, the man credited as the father of Android mobile OS has unveiled a new smartphone called “Essential.” The smartphone is designed to compete directly with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Apple iPhone 7. What is supposed to set the Essential smartphone apart from others in the premium segment is the fact that it is a modular smartphone. This isn’t the first time a modular smartphone has been attempted (there was the LG G5, the Moto Z series and the ill-fated Project Ara), but it definitely the one causing the most amount of excitement.
As reported by The Verge, Andy Rubin’s Essential smartphone will feature a 5.7 inch QHD display which will wrap itself around the front of the phone. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S8’s display which just curves around the sides of the body, the display on Essential will extend all the way to the top as well, but don’t worry, the screen just curves around the front facing camera instead of stopping just under it. The phone itself is built out of a combination of titanium and ceramic materials, offering much higher durability when compared to their aluminium counterparts. In order to compete with the flagships, the Essential will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB RAM along with 128GB of on-board storage. In terms of on-board imaging, the Essential has a dual camera setup that closely resembles the Huawei P9 setup, that is, one sensor to shoot in colour and the other in monochrome for better low light sensitivity. Both the sensors carry a 13-megapixel resolution with f/1.85 aperture and hybrid autofocus. The front camera shoots photos with a resolution of 8 megapixel and video in 4K.
The real highlight of the Essential, however, is the magnetic pin connectors on the back. Just like what we’ve seen on the Moto Z series, Essential has a proprietary system to connect the two available accessories, a 360-degree camera and a wireless charger to the phone. It still does come with a USB-C port, but the 3.5mm headphone jack is gone. Thankfully, you get a headphone converter in the box so that you can continue using your existing earphones/headphones with Essential.
Essential will be powered by Android when it launches later this year, but for now, it is only available for pre-order in the US and it isn’t cheap by any means. The phone alone will set you back $699 (Rs. 45,186 approx) while the phone+360-degree camera combo will set you back $749 (Rs. 48, 437 approx). It might seem like a lot of money to some, but do keep in mind that not only is Essential made out of more premium materials in comparison to its competitors, but they are also a lot more durable. The phone will come in four colours; Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Pure White and Ocean Depths, with the last one being a unique colour palate in the smartphone world so far.