Essential is shutting down, Essential phone PH-1 won’t get any future updates

Back in 2017, Android creator Andy Rubin launched the Essential brand and the Essential Phone PH-1 was the company’s first smartphone. After almost 3 years, the company is shutting down and it confirmed that the PH-1 smartphone won’t be receiving future updates.

Post-2017, there was no new launch from the brand and late last year, the company introduced ‘Project GEM’ which was a new mobile experience that the hardware, software and cloud teams built and tested over the past few years. However, it didn’t go well for the company, and they did not have a “clear path” to deliver the project to users, resulting in the shut down of the company.

The Essential Phone PH-1 received the latest Android security update last week and it is the last update from the Essential team. However, the PH-1 will continue to work, but won’t receive any future updates nor customer support. The company will be hosting resources on its Github page letting developers build custom ROMs for the Essential Phone PH-1.

Essential even teased a unique “GEM” phone with radically different form factor back in October last year.

Furthermore, Essential also owns Newton Mail and it is also shutting down on April 30th, 2020, and current Newton Mail users will have access to the service. In case you aren’t aware of the Essential Phone, it was one of the first to sport a notch display which is now seen on most smartphones and the highlight of the PH-1 was its modularity feature that allows you to attach a 360-degree camera through a magnetic connector.

Essential in a blog post said:

In October, we introduced Project GEM, a new mobile experience that our hardware, software and cloud teams have been building and testing for the past few years. Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs. Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers. Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential.

To the Essential and Newton Mail communities, we offer our deepest thanks for your support and passion for our vision. You motivated us, kept us on our toes and made it all worthwhile.


Author: Manoj Nagendra

Manoj Nagendra is passionate about smartphones and the latest technology. He likes to write and explore the latest tech and you can often find him with an Android phone. You can follow him on Twitter @manojshesh24 and also mail at