THE STARTUP behind the Essential Phone, led by Google co-founder Andy Rubin, has laid off 30 per cent of its workforce.
So says Bloomberg, which reports that around 36 of Essential's 120 staffers have been let go, with the cuts being made across the company's hardware, marketing and sales divisions.
"This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers," an Essential spokesperson confirmed.
"We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game-changing consumer product."
The news comes hot on the heels of an earlier Bloomberg report which claimed Essential had cancelled its second phone and was exploring a sale of the company.
The Rubin-led firm was "actively shopping itself to potential suitors", according to the website's sources, with discussions said to be focused on a sale of the entire company, including its patent portfolio and hardware products, including an upcoming smart home device and a camera attachment for the original Essential phone (below).
While the company at the time refused to comment, Rubin appeared to confirm that the Essential 2 had been binned with a post on Twitter.
"We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace cancelling some in favour of the ones we think will be bigger hits," he said at the time.
"We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products," he added, appearing to debunk speculation that he was looking to flog the company.
Among these "game-changing" products will be an AI-powered smartphone that'll be largely operated by voice commands, rather than a touchscreen, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The device will reportedly be smart enough to autonomously respond to your emails, book appointments and send text messages to your friends. µ
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