At Code Conference this evening, Andy Rubin had a wide-ranging interview to discuss his newest venture. Focusing on the Essential Phone, the creator of Android shared some tidbits about the design decisions behind it.
Similar to how the device has no logos, Essential’s first device is simply named the Phone. Several live demos of the device showed stock Android running, with Rubin confirming that is the case. The launcher is quite similar to the Pixel’s with a five app dock that slides up to reveal the drawer. There also appears to be a basic ambient mode.
Rubin mentioned a yet to be announced or demonstrated “assistant” for the phone that also runs on the Essential Home.
Speaking of the peculiar choice to place the front-facing camera behind the LCD, Rubin notes that this should not be an issue as only notifications icons consume that space, while 16:9 video will appear normally. Essential did not place it on the bottom chin — referencing the Sharp Aquos — to avoid a “nostril cam” situation.
The device’s large screen and thin bezels, which Rubin notes means that consumers can have a phablet in a phone form factor, contributed to the decision to use titanium. Fabing the device out of regular aluminum with those bezels would result to in-pocket bending.
Rubin is against physical connectors and looking towards all-wireless connectivity. The pins on the device are used only for power and for magnetic alignment, with the phone and accessory communicating at USB 3.0 speeds over a wireless connection.
Speaking to the downsides of Moto Mods, Essential’s approach future proofs the design of upcoming phone and allows consumers to be able to use their accessories on future devices. This connection is also used on Essential’s Home device, with accessories like the 360-camera being compatible with it.
Noting the current reservation program, Rubin mentioned a within 30 day ship date for the Phone.