The co-founder of the Android operating system, Andy Rubin, has revealed his first new creation since leaving Google in 2014: a $699 Android phone that aims to take on Apple and Samsung for the high end of the mobile market. The phone, created by Rubin’s new firm, Essential, comes with the standard top-of-the-line setup in many areas: a 5.7in QHD display, a pair of 13MP rear cameras and an 8MP front-facing one, a 7.8mm thick body and USB-C connector at the base (although, taking a cue from Apple, there’s no headphone jack on the device).
But the feature Essential hopes will make the phone stand out is hidden in two metallic dots on the back of the phone, to the right of the twin cameras. Those make up a new expansion port that allows accessories to be magnetically clipped straight into the device – providing structural stability as well as leaving the USB-C port free.
At launch, there will be only one such accessory, a $199, 360˚ camera that peers over the edge of the phone and allows for video and photos to be taken and shared on the move. According to the Verge, others will follow, including a charging dock and the possibility of audio accessories to make up for the absent headphone jack.
Aside from the new port, Essential also plans to jump into the lead in a few selected fields. The most eye-catching aspect of the device is its screen, which puts even the Galaxy S8 to shame: not only is it almost entirely bezel-free at the sides, it also extends the screen up to the very top of the device, past the selfie camera (which leaves a small black notch in the middle of the picture as a result). The Essential Phone also implements a trick previously seen in the Huawei P9 and P10 – the second rear camera contains a monochrome sensor, which responds better in low-light conditions, and can be used in conjunction with the main camera to handle extremely dark environments.
One thing we don’t know about the phone is when shoppers will be able to get their hands on it. No release date has been announced yet, and the device is currently only available for pre-order in the US.
Alongside a phone, Essential also lifted the lid on a second product, which it calls Home. It shares similarities with its namesake, the Google Home: a small device designed to be left in the corner of a room, connected to the internet and used as a personal assistant for life admin tasks. But unlike the Google Home, or the Amazon Echo, Essential’s Home contains a large round touchscreen, and runs its own customised operating system called Ambient OS.
Users can control their smart home devices, set timers and play music with the Essential Home, just like they can with its competitors, but they can also ask for directions and see them displayed on screen, or simply navigate the device manually rather than verbally. “The idea behind Essential Home is that technology is there, supportive, and proactive enough to be helpful, without forcing you to ask or type a question,” says Mara Segal, head of product for Essential’s parent company, Playground. “It’s in your environment; you can tap or glance at it, but it never intrudes or takes you away from the things that are important to you.”
· Source http://tiny.cc/wrmmly