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Essential Phone 2 reportedly canceled, Android founder may sell company

"We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products," says founder Andy Rubin.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Essential Phone was a promising flop that had us excited for the sequel. But Bloomberg is now reporting that plans for the Essential Phone 2 have been scrapped, and the entire company may be up for sale.

According to Bloomberg, Essential has spent over $100 million developing its first set of products, of which only the original phone, in several colors, and its 360-degree modular camera attachment have shipped so far.

Bloomberg suggests that Essential may try to sell the company as a whole -- including patents, products and its engineering talent -- rather than selling off those parts piecemeal. 

Company founder Andy Rubin -- also the father of the Android operating system that now powers most of the world's smartphones -- noted in a tweet that Essential was effectively triaging its nascent product line. "We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products." 

An Essential spokesperson echoed the same comment. Neither Rubin nor the Essential spokesperson explicitly countered the main assertions of the Bloomberg report. 

A follow-up story at The Information partially corroborates Bloomberg's story too: It appears Rubin sent his employees an angry memo about the Bloomberg piece, seemingly admitting the company is in trouble. 

Now playing: Watch this: We destroyed the Essential Phone

Alongside the Essential phone and its camera, the company had debuted a smart home hub called the Essential Home almost exactly a year ago.

Originally published May 25, 2:26 p.m. PT.
Update, 3:34 p.m. PT: Added tweeted comment from Rubin; and on May 25 at 7:47 a.m. PT: Adds reference to story from The Information.