Android OS Creator Makes Own “Essential” Phone

One of the men who created Android has unveiled a high-end phone. But at $699, Andy Rubin’s ‘Essential’ phone seems somewhat misnamed.

The most notable different feature is a modular element. It’s not quite the Lego-like design that Google explored before abandoning, but rather a new form of expansion port. It’s two magnetic clips on the back of the phone for adding hardware gadgets that will, where needed, also exchange date wirelessly.

At first the only such accessory will be a 360 degree camera at $199, though other high-end gadgets are on the way to use the magnetic connection, including a charging dock. It’s not clear if third parties will (officially or otherwise) be able to develop accessories to use it.

The other main hardware difference is a display screen that not only goes from edge to edge with no bezels, but even reaches right to the very top of the device. While that’s somewhat technically impressive, it does have the downside that there’s a gap in the display where the front-facing camera sits.

Other than that, it’s simply a high-end Android handset with the specs to match such as 4GB RAM, 128GB on-board storage a 5.7 inch display and a 13 megapixel/8 megapixel front and rear camera combo.  There’s no confirmation yet on whether it will have arguably the most important Android feature, namely not filling it up with battery-killing, memory-hogging, data-sucking crap.