Foldable phones have been the new big thing for quite some time now. However, sometimes, we get something completely different out of the blue that just catches everyone off guard. For example, Xiaomi came up with its Mi Mix Alpha a couple of weeks ago that was another bizarre yet intriguing concept for a smartphone. Today, Andy Rubin, also known as the ‘Father of Android’ has unveiled a strange smartphone concept called Project GEM currently in the works at his company, Essential.
While Essential’s initial foray into the smartphone market with the Essential Phone did not really play out like they had expected it to, they were arguably the ones who brought the bezel-less revolution to our modern smartphones.
The Essential Phone was one of the very first devices to have a high screen to body ratio and also introduced the concept of a notch at the top for the camera. Essential Phone, which came out in 2017, still has a smaller notch than most modern smartphones. However, pricing, mediocre cameras and general lack of advertisement eventually led to the failure of the Essential Phone.
Meet Project GEM, a new smartphone concept from Essential
After going back to the drawing board for a couple of years, Andy Rubin and Essential finally announced that they have another smartphone in the works. Called Project GEM, the new phone is bizarrely tall and narrow. It resembles an iPod nano or a candy bar but somehow even taller. We’ve seen relatively taller phones from the likes of Sony but this is on a whole another level.
Furthermore, Rubin also showed the smartphone in working condition with a very different UI. “New UI for radically different form factor”, said Rubin in his tweet. Additionally, he showed us the back of the phone which apparently uses a colour shift material. In the short video, the smartphones are seen changing shades as the camera angle changes, similar to a Huawei P30 Pro or Galaxy Note 10.
A couple of hours after Rubin’s tweet, Essential also tweeted some photos of the device, confirming its name as Project GEM, for now. “We’ve been working on a new device to re-frame your perspective on mobile”, said Essential in the tweet. The smartphone also appears to have a massive camera bump at the back right above what is presumably, a fingerprint reader.
The device is now in early testing outside the lab so it is not that far away. It would be interesting to see what Essential has come up with here. Could Essential pioneer a new trend of smartphones or is the form factor just too strange to succeed? Let us know down in the comments below!