Fans of unremarkable Android phones might want to sit down for this one.

Smart device startup Essential announced Wednesday on its company blog that it would unceremoniously shut down. You may or may not remember Essential as the company started by Android co-founder, Andy Rubin, shortly after Google reportedly paid him $90 million to leave the company because he was credibly accused of sexual harassment, among other things.

Essential had been working on a weirdly long and narrow smartphone called Project Gem for some time, but not anymore. In the blog post, Essential said it had done everything it could but had “no clear path” to get the device into customers’ hands. The blog post also featured a bunch of new videos of the phone, which is a bizarre thing to do for a freshly canceled product.

Andy Rubin was the architect behind Essential.
Andy Rubin was the architect behind Essential.

To its credit, Essential did manage to get one device out the door during the few years it was in business. The 2017 Essential Phone came and went without leaving much of a mark on the world. It was a vaguely handsome Android phone with a nice camera, some bugs, and a bizarre notch at the top of the screen. Our own Karissa Bell came away somewhat impressed with it in Mashable’s review.

Still, the Essential Phone’s relative merits weren’t enough to skyrocket it to stardom. Essential never produced a true follow-up, and the remote control-shaped Project Gem phone is probably not going to be on store shelves anytime soon. 

I guess Essential wasn’t essential, after all.

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