Android CoFounder Andy Rubin Teases Prototype Smartphone with Near-Zero Bezel

andy rubin android essential smartphone

In the middle of January this year, Bloomberg carried a report about Android cofounder Andy Rubin’s plans to create his own smartphone that would sport a “large screen with no bezel.”

At the time, we dug up some information on the patents held by Rubin’s company, Essential, and drew some inferences based on our findings. It now appears that the phone is almost ready to debut – sometime during the middle of 2017 – and is everything we hoped it would be.

To give you some background, here’s our coverage:

Android Creator Andy Rubin and his ‘Essential’ Smartphone – See Patent Documents

More recently, Rubin teased his Twitter followers with a half-seen image of the phone. The bezel part seems absolutely true, and from what can be seen in the home screen layout, it looks like the OS could be based on Android, which may be tweaked for AI applications.

Here’s the tweet that set off this round of speculation on the first ever smartphone from Essential:


It’s evident that Rubin and his 40-member team have a working prototype, and there’s every indication that he’s working exclusively with Sprint to bring it to market around the middle of 2017.

As of now there’s no news around production or timelines, and it’s likely that the company will start small rather than go all out on production. Pricing is still an unknown quantity, as are the core AI features the smartphone is supposedly bringing.

Rubin’s earlier comment about the phone’s capabilities leads us to believe that this is not just another Android-based device. We could be looking at an entirely new operating system that merely borrows certain features and functions from Android because they still make sense.

“New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years. What’s the next platform?… It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn.”

But now, the story takes an interesting twist. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman and former CEO of Google tweeted this:


The reason that’s confusing is that, Google being an investor in Essential, Schmidt will naturally have an insider’s view of the new smartphone. If what he says is true, that clearly shows that the Essential smartphone is an Android device.

At the risk of being completely wrong and having to eat our words, we would have to respectfully disagree. There are too many clues that point to a new platform that takes the mobile operating system paradigm to a new level. It may contain Android elements because that’s what Rubin is most familiar with, but we doubt that yet another Android device can be as disruptive as Rubin wants this new phone to be.

You can be sure that we’ll be tracking Andy Rubin’s activities like coonhounds to bring you the latest on what is now shaping up to be a disruptive device in a world thickly populated with Android and iOS gadgets.

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