Android Creator Andy Rubin is Planning to Announce AI-Focused ‘Essential’ Smartphone

The creator of Google’s Android operating system, Andy Rubin, is reportedly preparing to announce a high-end AI-focused smartphone with a bezel-free screen and a ceramic back.

Rubin will soon announce a firm called Essential, with himself as CEO, reports Bloomberg. He registered “Essential Products Inc.” in California back in November 2015 and submitted “Essential” to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to the filing, the name can be used to identify smartphones, tablets, and mobile OS software.

The current team reportedly has about 40 employees, many of which were recruited from Google and Apple. The report suggests that Essential is working on a suite of devices aimed at the mobile and smart home markets.

Though the phone is still in the prototype phase, one concept reportedly has a display bigger than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, but a smaller size overall due to its lack of bezels. It’s also rumoured to feature a ceramic back and unique magnetic connector, which will be used for charging and accessories. One of the accessories the team is supposedly working on is a spherical 360-degree camera.

One source indicated that Rubin is aiming to ship the phone as soon as mid-2017, with a price tag close to the iPhone 7’s $649. If the rumours are true, the device will pose yet another tough challenge for Apple’s iPhone.