The new Essential phone that Andy Rubin teased the world with recently is shocking for a simple reason: it looks like a TV remote control. It is long and narrow and unlike the original Essential Phone or any existing smartphone.
Looking at the remote control phone form factor, you immediately wonder how you would consume your favourite YouTube video content on such a device. What of web browsing and reading generally? For how long will you be able to read on that abomination before your eyes get tired and develop a mind of their own?
But if you think that watching videos, viewing images and reading text will be challenging on Essential’s new TV remote control phone, have you considered what text entry would be like? Entry text on a narrow device like that would swing us back to the feature phone days of trying to tap out messages using tiny buttons.
There is a reason big screen devices are the best for media consumption and creation – the bigger the screen, the better. And, the wider the screen, the better. Big and wide is good. The new Essential phone is small and narrow – the antithesis of everything that the smartphone world has embraced year after year.
We do not have the dimensions of this new GEM colorshift phone from Essential yet, but the images give away one key thing – It is no bigger than the long TV/DVD remote control that you have at home.
But a remote control phone might help you simplify and de-clutter
But thinking about it, if Essential is still working with their original vision of de-cluttering and simplifying the lives of phone users, perhaps what we have seen is exactly what they need to do – produce a smartphone that does not compel you to pick it up every other minute.
You will not want to do a lot of typing on the this new form factor. You will not want to binge on YouTube or Netflix or iROKOtv on it. You will definitely not be doing a lot of texting and chatting on this narrow device.
Andy Rubin, founder of Essential, says that the phone has a new UI to fit the new form factor. It definitely needs a different UI. We are yet to see much of it, but it will be an interesting one to see. What operating system does it run? We have no information on that yet. It could be Android or some other.
If it is Android, how well would existing apps work on this new remote control phone form factor? Not very well, I am guessing. So, using Android would not give Essential’s new gadget an app advantage. Plus, to be honest, anyone who is serious about de-cluttering their digital lives should seriously not be thinking of using an Android phone or iPhone. Just get off that grid and go with a phone that does not sync to a server somewhere every micro-minute.
Anyway, regardless of the arguments for and against, we will have to wait to see what operating system Essential is deploying in this, what the UI looks like, and how it all works.
The new phone is made of an intriguing GEM Colorshift material that changes as you view it from different angles. Have a look at a brief video here:
What is the release date for Essential’s remote control phone?
There is no information about a release date yet. We can only wait till the company makes an announcement – or till someone leaks the info. But if you have been looking to wean yourself off your smartphone, you might want to keep your ears down for news about this odd-looking creature. It just might be what the doctor ordered. Whether a remote control phone will sell in any big numbers is a different matter entirely.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.