IF YOU'RE the sort of person that stares at their TV remote control and thinks "my phone should be like this", then happy birthday, because Andy Rubin's Essential has created the phone for you.
And Andy can't wait to get handsy, so he's shown it off on Twitter. The as-yet-unnamed device, which is codenamed "Project Gem" is long, thin, and, yes, it looks like a remote control.
New UI for radically different formfactor pic.twitter.com/Es8hFrTuxx— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) October 8, 2019
That's not to say it's covered in buttons, it is, of course, a touchscreen, but it's an entirely new form factor that is going to play havoc with any badly coded Android apps.
It's almost like you're supposed to touch it in usually inappropriate areas.
Apart from the form factor, it's pretty standard fayre from the limited info we have. It's got power and volume physical buttons, a fingerprint reader on the back, a single-lens camera and fairly small side bezels, though the top one is a bit retro in its bulge.
Not that an unwanted bulge is anything to be embarrassed about.
Essential followed the cheeky Rubin with some official shots, claiming that it will "reframe your perspective on mobile" (you'll need different shaped pockets for a start) and says that the team are now testing prototypes "outside the lab".
Early rumours from XDA suggest it will be a voice-control-heavy device, so you won't end up clumsily groping at it and getting into trouble. It's said to activate the assistant (we assume Google Assistant, but who knows?) with a tap on the metallic shell. There's also mention of a PTT style walkie-talkie mode using the fingerprint sensor.
No sign of a release date for this one yet, but we'd take a guess that we'll see it in public at MWC next February. Whether it's released then is anyone's guess. MWC is getting notoriously bad for exhibiting things that you can look at but can't yet touch.
A lesson for us all there. µ
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