Technology Week: Do you care about smartphones again?

Every week, we review News of the week, Provide analysis on the most important developments in the technology industry.

Hey, I’m Dai Wakabayashi, and I cover Google in San Francisco for the New York Times.

For the most part, writing about smartphones over the past few years has been very boring. Can you get this excited for a phone going from two cameras to three?

But this has been an interesting week for smartphone news, as it outlines both the promise of developments (pun alert) that faces us and the challenges of trying to do something new and different.

A few days after Motorola (Supposed to) It started selling the foldable Razr phone, and Samsung showed its latest bid on a bendable smartphone. Seems to be early reviews of Samsung Flip Flip Z from Samsung Cautiously optimistic, With some reporters who supply the glass screen and strong hinges. I am more excited about these phones than my colleague Brian Sheen, who made a flat argument that these phones may not have been ready for the first time and they seem to be more difficult than they deserved.

But I don’t think I am alone in trying a little roaming on the device. This was part of the wager behind Essential Products, which was considered one of the first promising device companies in Silicon Valley.

“Core Products” started by Andy Rubin, a former Google executive with a proven track record in the smartphone industry. The company collected $ 330 million. But the core product of Essential, the premium smartphone, has been thwarted. When I mentioned the New York Times and others Mr. Robin’s departure from Google after an employee accused him of sexual misconduct has created more challenges for the company.

This week, Essential said it was closed. The company said it saw no “clear way” to deliver its latest phones to customers. Necessarily he was trying something different. She developed a so-called companion phone called Project Gem, but the carriers didn’t want to provide it, and the company decided to pull the plug.

I asked a former key employee if they think this is evidence of how difficult competition is in the smartphone industry. This person, who requested anonymity because of the non-disclosure agreement with the company, described this analysis as “lazy” and blamed a dysfunction within the company.

The former employee said that Essential spent a “set of time and money” on a second, separate smartphone called PH-2 (it was the first phone called PH-1) just about to be canceled only when any carrier expressed their wish. This prompted the migration of talented workers from the company.

The former employee said that there were other red flags: There were more managers compared to the engineers at Essential, and many quality assurance engineers, despite only one (poor selling) product.

In addition, it seems that Mr. Robin, who was supposed to be the driving force behind the products, was not fully involved because he was busy dealing with his personal affairs, the former employee said.

A Essential spokeswoman did not respond to the request for comment.

Also, and I’ll stand on it: it’s really hard to break into the smartphone market.

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