Essential founder Andy Rubin reveals an upcoming a narrow phone

One of the key features of the Android world has always been crazy experimentation with form factors. For a while not so long ago that seemed to have waned somewhat, but recently we’ve seen a resurgence of this idea, with foldables and waterfall displays and various solutions to cutting screen bezels so much that there isn’t room for a selfie camera anymore.

Those are all things we’re pretty much used to by now, but then, there’s this. Essential founder Andy Rubin (and before that, Android co-founder) has just teased the company’s next smartphone, and it’s, well, different. See for yourself:

The tallness of the form factor definitely stands out. It almost looks like an opened clamshell, except it’s not a clamshell and it doesn’t ‘close’. It’s taller and narrower than anything we’ve seen so far, and there’s a whole new UI to go with that, which we’re assuming runs on top of Android, but Rubin hasn’t said anything about the software so there’s a chance it could be something else entirely.

The mapping app shown definitely doesn’t look anything like Google Maps, for example, and the whole interface seems to be based on vertically scrolling cards, which sort of takes us back to the days of the Palm Pre, which introduced the horizontally scrolling cards concept.

Anyway, once you’ve taken all of that in, take a look at the color shifting back of the phone. This is really taking the gradient craze to a whole new level.

To recap the details we can see from these images and the quick video, there’s a huge camera bump that only seems to house one sensor on the back, a possible fingerprint sensor under that, and a hole-punch selfie cam in the display. Despite its length, the phone seems quite tiny compared to what’s considered mainstream in this day and age.

It looks like Essential is getting ready to shake up the mobile world in the near future – or at least try to. We’re assuming this device will have some unique selling point that isn’t shown in these images, because otherwise it might be a tough sell just based on how different its form factor is compared to anything else out there. Hopefully more details will be revealed soon, so stay tuned for that.


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