29 February 2020
The last time we heard any official news about Essential's future, it was working on a new mobile form factor dubbed as 'Project GEM'. It was expected to be a device that would change the way we use and interact with mobile phones but it will not be happening anymore. As per the latest announcement, Essential has decided to cease all its operations and shut down.
Essential has not offered any specific explanations but has said that "despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers". It seems like the project development did not go as planned or expected by the company. It is also possible that the device was not turning out to be the end product they were hoping for. However, it has shared a few videos within the blog post showing what Project Gem could have been.
The announcement means an end for Essential Phone as well. It is the first and only smartphone released by the company which initially failed to attract buyers because of its high price. This lead to a price cut which helped the company sell more units. It is a phone well-known for receiving the fastest and regular software upgrades including monthly security patches. Since the team has stopped working, it will not get any new updates. It received a security update on February 3rd which is its last official software update.
71.1 x 141.5 x 7.8 mm
5.71 inches - 2560x1312 px
The good thing for Essential Phone owners is that the team will provide all necessary code files and other resources on Github for the developer community. It means there is a possibility that the phone might continue to receive updates via third-party developer support but do not expect it to be anywhere as fast or regular as Essential's track record. Lastly, Essential's decision to shut down also affects Newton Mail users. It said that the mail service will be accessible until April 30th, 2020 after which users will have no choice but to opt for some other email service provider.