Essential Lays Off Nearly 30% of its Staff

Essential, which launched its first smartphone, the Essential Phone, and heralded smartphones with notches and drastically minimized bezels, has been in a bit of rough waters as of late.

Back in May it was reported that the company, which was founded by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, had cancelled its second smartphone, the successor to the Essential Phone, and was putting the company up for sale. While the latter part of the report wasn’t necessarily shot down at the time, it did sound like there wasn’t much of a chance of seeing an Essential Phone 2 anytime soon.

Now, months later, Essential has confirmed to Bloomberg that it has cut “about 30 percent of its employees”, with the brunt of the firings impacting marketing, sales, and hardware. The company says it was a “difficult decision to make”, and those leaving the company are apparently getting assistance from Essential in some capacity or another with finding whatever comes next, career wise.

Here’s Essential’s statement on the matter:

“This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers,” an Essential spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product.”

The last line there, the “truly game changing consumer product” is reportedly another smartphone, but not necessarily a followup to the Essential Phone. Recent reports have suggested that Essential’s next device will be one that focuses quite a bit on artificial intelligence, and that is operated primarily through voice controls. The AI system on board will reportedly be able to respond to text messages and emails, mimicking the device owner in responses.

However, there is no word on when that device will launch, if it ever sees the light of day at all. This is sad news for those being let go from Essential, and just confirms the suspicions that Rubin’s fledgling company isn’t doing so well.

[via Bloomberg]

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