Oh no, the end for Essential as we know it may be near, guys. According to a report out of Bloomberg, Essential has canceled the Essential Phone 2 and is looking to sell itself. The report says that Essential has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on a potential sale and may already have interest from at least one suitor.
There isn’t a specific reason given for Andy Rubin’s company deciding that now would be the time to sell and a spokesperson would not comment about the future of the company to Bloomberg. But look, the original Essential Phone was a bust by all means. You know that weird people like me love it, but the phone was filled with all sorts of issues and required a steep and permanent price drop almost immediately in order for the company to move any inventory. Maybe the risk and cost of continuing on just isn’t worth it.
For now, Essential is said to be looking to sell the entire company, including talent, patents, and hardware products.
The report notes that Essential maybe only sold around 150,000 Essential Phones and spent more than $100 million developing it, as well as their other products. And speaking of their other products, Essential has reportedly moved their phone engineers over to their yet-to-be-released smart home product that was teased a year ago.
Ugh. This is pretty terrible news. While the original Essential Phone has its fair share of issues, it was something fresh in a sea of bloated Android phones from the same phone makers we’ve been critiquing for years.
Should we learn more, we’ll keep you updated.
UPDATE: Andy Rubin has already weighed-in, basically confirming that they have indeed canceled their new phone. His Tweet is obviously in response to the just-released report and acknowledges that the company doesn’t shy away from ending the life of a product to shift focus. What’s interesting here is that he suggests they are putting extra effort into “game-changing” products, which they must believe is their smart home hub.
UPDATE 2: The Information picked up an internal email from Rubin to Essential employees where he said that they are “working with bankers to raise money,” and that an acquisition might be a part of the discussions. He also seemed miffed by the Bloomberg story above, saying that leaks like that “will not position us well for optimizing” their fundraising efforts and that he is “going to focus on winning not whining.”