When the co-founder of Android makes a move, people pay attention.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Android co-founder and Google Robotics pioneer Andy Rubin has a team that's going to build the next big deal — an artificial intelligence-centric smartphone and smart home products that work together.
Rubin is expected to announce the new company, dubbed "Essential," and serve as its CEO according to Bloomberg's sources. Making up the 40-man team at Essential are Rubin's former colleagues from Google as well as talent from Apple, Samsung and Magic Leap. The goal is to blend AI with consumer hardware in a way where everything works together by design. Essential will be working on a full suite of consumer products, and "Essential" was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a brand for smartphones, tablets, accessories and computer operating software in late 2016.
This isn't just talk: Rubin is going to launch a phone.
The showcase product of the company will be a high-end phone with a large screen. A supposed prototype shows a screen larger that the iPhone 7 Plus' 5.5-inch screen in a frame with a smaller overall footprint. The phone was discussed at CES 2017 with mobile carrier execs, including people from Sprint according to the source of this information. The operating system of the phone wasn't disclosed.
Rubin knows his stuff. If anyone can marry AI and consumer hardware the way we want them to be joined, it would be Rubin. But this is a big undertaking, and the world where Apple and Samsung exist is pretty hostile to any newcomer. Rubin has the big ideas and it looks like he has the right team. We're looking forward to seeing how this develops.