Andy Rubin, CEO of Essential and Co-founder of Android teased a new smartphone on Twitter and promoted it as “radically different form factor”. It has been confirmed that the new Essential phone is in early testing and will be known as Project GEM. Project GEM is expected to be powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 chipset.
Rubin teased the handset on Twitter soon after the Essential team themselves leaked a handful of pictures of the upcoming smartphone. Project GEM comes in a narrow and tall design and more or less resembles a Smart TV remote than a smartphone.
Rubin’s first tweet shows the back of the tall handset and reads “Colour-shift material”. The phone has a glossy back panel with a color-shifting finish. In the picture, we can see the device in 4 color variants: green, orange, red and blue but Rubin kept the color option open by saying the company is still “dialing in the colors”.
Essential GEM Smartphone is powered by a new UI that is quite different from Android. However, it is still unclear whether this UI will be based on Android or not. One of the front images shows something that looks like a Maps app that comes with a number of step tracking button.
A front image shows the main UI with widget-like app boxes while another front image displays the Uber, Calendar, Maps and Weather apps which can be opened with quick action buttons. Another front image displays the UI with an analog clock, Spotify widget, gallery screen and icon boxes for Messages, Camera, Map, and Phone.
The image displays an arrow-shaped button and a red dash button at the top which is likely to be used for navigational purposes inside the UI. No notch can be seen in the front but there is a circular cut-out on the top left side which could house the secondary camera.
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