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Essential Doesn't Have The Essentials Right

Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, announced his new smartphone today. Called the Essential, it rocks a near bezel free design, stock Android and expansion capability through wireless USB.

The danger is that Rubin has made the same mistake as others who have designed phones for the enthusiast, pushing the things that most customers aren't really interested in.

The Essential is targeted at the premium Android market. That means its going to sell in limited numbers - the sector isn't big and it's dominated by Samsung.

Does the Essential look like a device that can compete with the Galaxy S8?  I'd suggest not.  Samsung has made the S8 attractive by virtue of both its hardware and software. Essential's use of stock Android means limited integration of the platform and the hardware.

The S8's hardware is just that bit more impressive too.

There is one feature that might make a difference though, the ability to expand with new hardware through an expansion port. A device unique expansion didn't work for LG or Motorola, Essential promises that its wireless USB will be an open standard, but unless it  gains wide adoption that's likely to be an empty promise.

There's not a lot that's new or innovative about the Essential either. Realistically that's because there aren't any big gaps in the way smartphones work. Rubin talks about Essential building a more personal phone, but aside from leaving branding of the phone it's hard to see where this applies.

The Essential is a very niche device.  One which will speak to those interested in the more technical aspects of owning a smartphone.

For everyone else an iPhone or Galaxy S8 looks a  more complete option.