Mark Gurman and Mark Bergen, reporting for Bloomberg:
Rubin, creator of the Android operating system, is planning to
marry his background in software with artificial intelligence in a
risky business: consumer hardware. 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. […]
While still in the prototyping stage, Rubin’s phone is aimed at
the top of the market where Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Alphabet
Inc.’s new Pixel reside. It’s expected to include high-end
materials and the ability to gain new hardware features over time,
the people said. Representatives for Rubin and Sprint declined to
The problem with any sort of modular design where the goal is to “gain new hardware features over time” is that the most important hardware components in a phone are the display, camera, CPU, and GPU, and Apple updates the iPhone with industry-leading displays, cameras, CPUs, and GPUs every year.
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.
The startup is experimenting with enabling the phone’s screen to
sense different levels of pressure, similar to an iPhone, the
person said. Rubin’s team is testing an industrial design with
metal edges and a back made of ceramic, which is more difficult to
manufacture than typical smartphone materials, two of the people
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 said, adding that all of the plans are
still in flux.
If it’s in the prototyping stage right now, in January, and they don’t know what materials they’re going to use or what size the display will be, what chance do they possibly have of putting a phone on sale in the “middle of this year”?
Also, no word on what OS they’re using. I’m guessing Android with customizations, but it’s curious the story doesn’t say.
★ Sunday, 15 January 2017