Andy Rubin’s upcoming high-end smartphone project loses SoftBank funding

Andy Rubin's next premium smartphone needs to find new investors

Back in January, we heard that Android creator, Andy Rubin has gathered up a team and together they are working on a premium smartphone meant to take on the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone.

A device named Essential FIH-PM1 (most likely Rubin’s phone) even popped up in Geekbench revealing the phone might come with a Snapdragon 835 chispet, 4GB of RAM and Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Whispers would also have us believe the device would come will modular add-ons in the vein of the Motorola Moto Z line.

It all sounded quite promising, but now a report coming out of the Wall Street Journal is putting a damper on our enthusiasm. According to the information, Sprint’s parent company SoftBank has decided to withdraw the $100 million funding meant to help the Andy Rubin and his team transform the Essential into a real life product.

Why the change of heart you might be wondering? Sources claim a conflict of interest is what prompted SoftBank to pull out from the deal.

High-end concept phone

It seems that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son plans to open a tech oriented investment with $100 billion in capital. And one of the main investors poised to pour $1 billion into the fund is none other than Apple. Which in Son’s mind creates a conflict of interest, given that Rubin wants to create a product that will compete head-to-head with the Apple iPhone.

However, this doesn’t mean the Essential project is dead. The $100 million need to fund the project could be raised with the help of a few generous investors. The report goes on to claim that the Essential project is close to getting fully funded.

This is the first bump in the road for Essential, but will it be the last. It will be interesting to see if the phone will actually make it out on the market and if it does – will it be able to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8? It remains to be seen.