In Depth

Android co-founder unveils Essential smartphone

Accessories, such as a 360-degree camera, can be magnetically attached to your mobile

Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Google's Android mobile software, has launched his first iPhone-rivalling smartphone under his new Essential brand. 

The phone has been designed with high-end internals to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple's smartphone range, says The Guardian. These include a 5.7ins QHD display and a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera. 

Its titanium and ceramic body has a thickness of just 0.3ins (7.8mm), adds the newspaper, which means Essential has had to mirror Apple's iPhone 7 and remove the device's headphone port. 

But The Guardian says that the feature that sets the Essential apart from its top-tier smartphone rivals, such as the iPhone, is its expansion port that allows "accessories to be magnetically clipped straight into the device".

"Essential will ship a 360-degree camera that can click in to the top of the phone", says The Verge, while a wireless charging dock will also be offered. 

More peripherals are expected to be revealed at a later date, as the site says Essential is "aiming to build an ecosystem of accessories".

There's no branding on the phone's casing. The BBC says this "will make it even tougher to build brand recognition among smartphone buyers who do not follow technology news". 

It adds that the mobile's hardware specs "will not shake up the smartphone market in any meaningful way", but Rubin's stature as "the man who designed the most-used mobile operating system today will mean Essential will be a company to watch". 

Essential's smartphone is on sale now in the US for $699 (£547), making it slightly cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7. A UK release date has yet to be confirmed. 

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