Essential has called it quits. After teasing their next phone under the codename “Project GEM” back in October, we’ve heard little from the company, outside of a few updates to their original Essential Phone. Now, because the company sees “no clear path to deliver” GEM to customers, they are shutting down all operations.
This actually means a couple of things along with no new phone. For one, the original Essential Phone (PH-1) will no longer receive updates. The February 2020 patch it just received will be it’s last. While the phone will continue to work, Essential will no longer provide updates to it or customer support.
As for Newton Mail (CloudMagic), the other company and product that Essential owns, it too will die. Current Newton Mail users can still use the service through April 30, 2020. After that, well, it’s “goodbye” to Newton, again.
So to recap, Essential as a company is done, there will be no Project GEM, your Essential Phone no longer has support (both software and customer), and Newton Mail is going away in April.
Essential said in a blog post today that they have “taken GEM as far as we can,” as part of the reason for shutting down, but one has to wonder if the toxicity surrounding CEO Andy Rubin is partly to blame. Andy Rubin has a pretty horrible reputation and alleged history that likely affected operations. That’s speculation on my part, but I can tell you that he hasn’t been warmly received around these parts for some time.