Bloomberg is reporting that Essential, a startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, has raised $300 million. The investment paperwork was filed just a few days before Rubin introduced the company’s first two products: the Essential smart phone and the Essential Home, a smart speaker. According to Bloomberg, the latest investment puts the company’s value at $900 million to $1 billion, making Essential a worthy competitor in an already saturated field.
Can Essential Compete with Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Google?
Essential is attempting to break into two tough markets – smart speakers and smart phones. Last month Voicebot discussed how Essential’s focus (similar to Apple’s) for its Home device is privacy. The company believes “devices are your personal property” and considering privacy is a barrier for smart home adoption, the Essential Home could use this feature as a way to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
For smart phones, it is clear that Essential wants to go head-to-head against Apple and Samsung with its PH-1 Android phone as it will retail for $699. The PH-1 does have some interesting features like an edge-to-edge screen and magnetic connectors on the back to allow for users to add on accessories, like a 360-degree camera. The high price tag does convey quality but it is risky considering the brand is new to the market. However, investors certainly have faith that Essential can compete against the tech giants even with that high price tag. Or maybe its faith in Rubin. He did create the most popular operating system for mobile devices in the world. Maybe that is worth $300 million.