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Details leak on Android creator's mysterious Essential phone

After helping create the Android OS, Andy Rubin is creating an Android phone of his own.

Andy Rubin, leader of Google's Android project, speaks to reporters at Google I/O.
Andy Rubin, leader of Google's Android project, speaks to reporters at Google I/O.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

There's a new smartphone in the works by Andy Rubin, the father of Google's Android operating system. Rubin tweeted a teaser picture of the "Essential" phone back in March, but besides that not much is known about the device.

However, Russian site Mobiletelefon recently dug up a Geekbench test dating back to late December with the code name Essential FIH-PM1. Since Essential is the name of Rubin's company and FIH might refer to Foxconn International Holdings (a possible factory where the phone is being made), speculators think that the Geekbench test may be of Rubin's mysterious phone. The results give us a hint at some of the phone's capabilities.

Andy Rubin/Twitter

Since leaving Google, Rubin has returned to the smartphone industry with Essential, a hardware company working on mobile and smart home devices for consumers. Essential's first move is creating a new high-end phone to challenge the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone or Google Pixel. If the Google Pixel is supposed to represent pure Android at its finest, it'll be interesting to see what a phone made by Android's creator can do.

So far we've heard that the Essential phone will feature a design with minimal bezels, similar to the Galaxy S8 and LG G6. It's also been reported that Essential is testing features like magnetic add-on accessories (like the Moto Z) and a pressure sensitive display, according to Bloomberg. That same report also claims that it could cost about the same as the iPhone 7, which starts at $649/£599/AU$1,079.

But the Geekbench benchmarks paint a further picture of what may come inside. Some notable features include the following:

  • Android Nougat OS
  • 5.5-inch 2,560x1,312-resolution display, with a near 2:1 aspect ration like the LG G6.
  • Octa-core Qualcomm processor @2.2GHz, and Adreno 540 GPU.
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4K photo and video
  • NFC compatibility

As I mentioned before, the alleged Geekbench test was conducted back in December, before Bloomberg reported and on the phone's existence and before Rubin teased it on Twitter. It likely flew under the rader because it happened before Rubin's tweet. So while the specs in the test are a few months old and may be subject to change, they could provide more insight on the Essential phone's development -- if true.


Andy Rubin did not immediately respond to comment when we reached out through representatives at his better-known venture, Playground Global. (We were unable to find a contact through Essential.)