Essential Shows Off Radically Different, Taller Phone; Is it the Essential Phone 2?

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone 2 prototype photos

Essential Phone 2. Is it ever coming? What’s the future of Essential Phone? What’s Andy Rubin doing these days, except for dodging allegations of sexual misconduct and rumors about Essential shutting down? Well, we have been waiting for an answer to all of these questions and well, it seems like Rubin has kept himself busy with the development of a new phone, which could be the Essential Phone 2.

Both Essential and Rubin have been quiet post the launch of their first smartphone, the Essential PH-1. The company has regularly been pushing out software updates and not much of anything else. However, Rubin has today broken the silence to show off a new prototype device, dubbed Project GEM. It could either be an entirely new device or Essential PH-1’s much-awaited successor.

We are unsure of what these devices are because neither Essential or Rubin have used “phone” to describe Project GEM. One of the standout characteristics of the devices will have to be the color-shifting design, which is super flashy and presents you a different color at different angles. You can see how the blue color devices on the left changes to yellow, green and then mauve.

If that back panel doesn’t make the device stand out, well, it’s new tall and weird form factor is sure to get stares from others – while using in public. It’s an elongated phone, which boasts an aspect ratio like no other device on the market. You can see the GEM prototype device in the tweet attached below. It boasts a single rear camera (with LED flash) and physical fingerprint scanner on the back and punch-hole-style display on the front.

Everyone has already started comparing it to an Apple TV remote and how it would be difficult to type on the device. There’s currently no word on the software running on it, however, we believe it should be Android. Rubin wouldn’t let go of the operating system he’s helped birth, however, we see a skinned UI in the images attached above. You can notice apps displayed as cards or widgets, with tiled icons for certain apps.

The pictures above raise more questions than they answer. Wouldn’t this device be too awkward to hold? How would one use the navigation buttons shown up-top? Why does Essential feel the need to design a new form factor? Does it support a SIM card? Why a skinned UI over stock Android? Will voice assistance be enough to not need a keyboard? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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