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Andy Rubin shows off 'Project Gem' phone with a 'radically different formfactor'

That is...different.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
October 8, 2019
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Andy Rubin (Twitter)

We've seen phones of many shapes and sizes over the years, but it looks like Essential's next device could go in yet another direction. Android co-founder, Essential CEO and recipient of a reported $90 million payout from Google after a sexual misconduct investigation Andy Rubin posted pictures of a new device on Twitter that is taller and thinner than you're used to seeing, pointing out a "new UI for a radically different formfactor." He didn't mention the Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot in the background.

Other images and video showing the back of the device teased a "colorshift" material that changed shades from different angles. Last December Essential announced its debut PH-1 phone was effectively discontinued, but promised a follow-up device and has continued releasing software updates.

In a world where phone screens keep getting bigger and wider -- including fold-out displays and second screens -- going taller to adjust the placement of important info and notifications is certainly one way to stand out. Last year Rubin suggested a way to solve phone addiction is by moving to a "relatively small" screen combined with software that responds mostly to voice commands -- is this it?

Update: The Essential Products Twitter account posted two more pictures of the device with the hashtag #ProjectGem. Saying it's in early testing, the post told readers "We've been working on a new device to reframe your perspective on mobile." Take a look below and see if that's true.

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