Essential founder Andy Rubin.
Getty Images for Wired
  • Andy Rubin, the father of Android, is reportedly working on a
    new phone for his startup, Essential, according to Bloomberg.
  • The phone would be able to perform tasks without any
    instruction from the user. Bloomberg reports that it would be
    able to send texts, respond to emails, or schedule appointments
    on its own.
  • Essential currently sells one other smartphone, the PH-1.
    While it has been positively reviewed, sales have lagged.
  • Reports emerged in May that Rubin was considering selling the
    company altogether.

The man who created Android, Andy Rubin, is reportedly working on
a futuristic new project at his consumer tech startup, Essential.

Rubin’s company is working on a new smartphone that would perform
tasks without any instruction from the user,
Bloomberg reports
. Using artificial intelligence, the phone
would be able to send texts, respond to emails, and schedule
appointments – all on its own.

Bloomberg reports that the device wouldn’t look like a typical
smartphone, but instead just have a small screen. Consumers would
use voice commands to interact with the device and work with the
AI technology. Essential is trying to have a prototype of the
phone finished by the end of the year,
according to Bloomberg

an interview with Bloomberg last year
, Rubin seemed to hint
at the idea of an AI-powered phone.

“If I can get to the point where your phone is a virtual version
of you,” Rubin said, “you can be off enjoying your life, having
that dinner, without touching your phone, and you can trust your
phone to do things on your behalf.”

Rubin’s vision isn’t far off from the technology in “Her,” a 2013
movie where a man falls for the artificially intelligent
operating system that performs tasks on his phone.

her movie joaquin phoenix

In the film “Her,” Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his computer operating system named Samantha.
Warner Bros.

This latest technology venture could be Rubin’s attempt to keep
the struggling Essential afloat, especially since reports emerged
in May that the Android creator
was thinking about selling his company

unveiled his Essential PH-1
smartphone last year
to positive reviews for its sleek design
, but
Bloomberg reported in May
that the startup only sold around
150,000 phones and was
forced to slash the price by $200
. Essential
has paused work on
a second generation of the phone, as well
as on
a smart home speaker
, so this AI-powered phone would
seemingly be Rubin’s third attempt to launch a successful device
since his startup
was founded in 2015

Up until he left Google in 2014, Rubin helped launch and run
Android, which is now the most-used mobile operating system.

It was revealed in late 2017
that an internal complaint from
Rubin’s time at Google alleged he had an “inappropriate”
non-consensual relationship with a coworker.

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