Essential all but confirms it’s making another phone

The Essential Phone, from Android co-founder Andy Rubin, seemed to have so much unrealized potential — but its journey may be coming to an end. Today, the company has announced (via 9to5Google) that it’s discontinuing the device. Droid Life spotted earlier today that the phone is pretty much out of stock, and Essential says it isn’t making any more.

But as part of that announcement, the company is also confirming something that fans had long hoped to be true: Essential is officially working on a second “mobile product,” presumably this rumored tiny phone that uses AI to answer emails and text messages for you. An Essential spokeswoman wouldn’t directly confirm to me that its “next mobile product” is a phone, but that’s what “mobile product” generally means.

Here’s the statement:

We are sold out of Essential Phone on essential.com and won’t be adding any new inventory. We are now hard at work on our next mobile product and will continue to sell accessories and provide speedy software updates and customer support to our existing community.

For a while, it seemed pretty unlikely that Essential would ever have a second act, when you consider the poor initial sales, the camera woes, the layoffs, the scandals (there was an early data breach, in addition to sexual misconduct claims against founder Andy Rubin during his time at Google), not to mention the reports that an Essential Phone 2 had already been shelved and the company was putting itself up for sale.

But even if Essential was struggling to survive, it put on a brave face with constant software updates for the Essential Phone — faster than any other manufacturer save Google itself — as well as some deep discounts to draw in more customers, and eventually, the release of a snap-on $149 headphone jack accessory. (Some jokes write themselves.)

In fact, the company’s still promising fast software updates for the Essential Phone, even now that it’s been discontinued. If or when a second Essential mobile device appears, there may be some loyal customers waiting for it.