Update: Eric Schmidt confirms that the Essential phone runs Android.
A report from January told us that the father-of-Android Andy Rubin’s hardware startup “Essential” has been working on a bezel-less smartphone for its first consumer product launch. Today, Rubin took to Twitter to provide our very first look at (just a tiny corner of) the forthcoming phone.
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While this one image obviously isn’t a full debut for the device, it does tell us some things that we didn’t know previously. While it could have easily been assumed that the device would run Android based on Rubin’s past, it’s now all but confirmed that Android will be the mobile OS of choice for Essential. Android’s familiar stock icons are visible in the corner of the device’s screen.
The image also shows the device’s almost unbelievably tiny bezels, a detail that — as we heard previously — will be one of the phone’s headlining features. It definitely resembles Xiaomi’s Mi Mix.
The premium smartphone is reportedly packing a display larger than 5.5-inches, but has what is actually a smaller overall footprint. The screen is said to have 3D Touch-like technology for sensing varying levels of pressure, and there will also reportedly be a proprietary magnetic connector for charging and hardware accessories. It’s said to have metal edges and a ceramic back.
Rubin reportedly met with carrier executives — specifically those from Sprint — at CES 2017 to talk about the phone, which is said to be manufactured by Foxconn and launching sometime in the middle part of this year. It’s expected to start somewhere in the realm of $649.