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Android Creator Lost Out On a Big Investment, and Apple May Be To Blame (cnbc.com) 74

Earlier this year, we learned that Andy Rubin, creator of the Android operating system, has built a new company called Essential. The company was reportedly working on a "high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel." It appears things aren't chugging along so smoothly. From a report: Andy Rubin, a co-creator of Android, lost out on a $100 million investment from SoftBank as Apple deepened ties with the Japanese investor, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Rubin's company, Essential Products, is reportedly planning to release a new high-end smartphone this spring, and SoftBank planned to market the phone in Japan, the Journal said. But Apple subsequently agreed to commit $1 billion to SoftBank's Vision Fund, a move that "complicated" SoftBank's investment in Essential Products, the Journal reported Monday. Apple did not directly block the deal, the Journal said, though Rubin's premium phone would be released ahead of the highly anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone. The deal was "nearly complete," sources told the Journal.
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Android Creator Lost Out On a Big Investment, and Apple May Be To Blame

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  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:40PM (#54076413) Homepage

    Translation: The 800-pound gorilla in the market ate our lunch. We didn't see that coming.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Destroy all competition, or DAC is the precarious stage of a product life cycle in which the company has already recognized its products as stagnated and turns into destroying all competition instead of inventing marketable novelty. DAC stages are more typical for products of big companies with established ecosystems and revenue streams. -- Fake Marketing 101, Chapter 13

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Monday March 20, 2017 @05:47PM (#54077547)

      Destroy all competition, or DAC is the precarious stage of a product life cycle in which the company has already recognized its products as stagnated and turns into destroying all competition instead of inventing marketable novelty. DAC stages are more typical for products of big companies with established ecosystems and revenue streams. -- Fake Marketing 101, Chapter 13

      I think this is more alternate facts than anything, because the business case makes zero sense.

      Apple invested a billion dollars into softbank. I don't know about you, but a billion dollars is a YUGGGGGGGGGEEEEEE amount. All for what? To kill a smartphone company who hasn't even released a phone yet? That makes zero business sense - they don't have a phone, they don't have a prototype, they don't have anything. And you don't know how much it costs, or what market they're targeting.

      I'm sure the Pixel and Pixel XL phones have Apple worried that Google is stomping around their price points.Enough that some no-name (yeah he created Android, and no one cared) who promises a phone with everything and the kitchen sink which hasn't been released yet or even a business plan produced is even more scary.

      No, what likely happened is Apple was making an investment in a carrier that believed in them (SoftBank was one of the first carriers outside the US to carry the iPhone, and in Japan, where their phones are light years ahead of what North America has) for $1B.

      And it's likely because of this, SoftBank wanted them to switch from a direct investment to using this new fund with its big pot of money in it ($1B!) which would be used to encourage innovation, and either it failed because the phone wasn't practical, or other business reason. If it was a "nothing but iPhone" fund, then would be rather useless.

      He likely got caught up in his own hype about the phone that it was supposed to be the next JesusPhone. Especially if he wanted to release it before the iPhone - that would mean he'd be in production right now, and thus all the hardware has been designed and debugged. Seeking funding now to go to mass production would put them even further behind thanks to how long it'll take

      • Insightful, thanks... I hope parent is modded up!

      • Destroy all competition, or DAC is the precarious stage of a product life cycle in which the company has already recognized its products as stagnated and turns into destroying all competition instead of inventing marketable novelty. DAC stages are more typical for products of big companies with established ecosystems and revenue streams. -- Fake Marketing 101, Chapter 13

        I think this is more alternate facts than anything, because the business case makes zero sense.

        Apple invested a billion dollars into softbank. I don't know about you, but a billion dollars is a YUGGGGGGGGGEEEEEE amount. All for what? To kill a smartphone company who hasn't even released a phone yet? That makes zero business sense - they don't have a phone, they don't have a prototype, they don't have anything. And you don't know how much it costs, or what market they're targeting.

        It makes even less sense when you consider the YUGGGGGGGGGEEEEEE Apple investment we are talking about went into a $100 billion fund. IOW they are only a 1% investor - how much leverage dies that buy you in an fund that maybe has a dozen investors?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just put Eric Schmidt on the board. That'll fix everything.

  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:54PM (#54076573) Homepage

    Everyone seems to be clamoring for a phone without bezels, but it seems obvious to me that you have to HOLD the device, and parts of your hand will always cover some of the front of the device if you hold it securely, and therefore with a bezel-less device you will be covering your screen all the time.

    Why do people seem to want this? It makes no sense. I like bezels on my handheld devices so I can actually hold and use them at the same time!

    • by aicrules ( 819392 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:59PM (#54076617)
      because the sheets of "glass" that they show in many scifi shows and movies seem like they would be cool as a computer/phone. Practical? Hell i don't know. But if they make advances in technology that allow it to happen then that's fine by me. There are bound to be applications for those advances that go beyond aesthetics. I prefer my phone not to so easily become shattered, thus I put it in a case. This nullifies the aesthetic benefit of having no bezel for me.
      • i'm just wondering; does your username refer to the Akaike Information Criterion? i can't think of what else it would be, except maybe the American Institute for Conservation or American International College?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:59PM (#54076625) Homepage

      Same reason they want thinner and lighter. Because the general public is really stupid and when you market at them properly they will lap it up.

      I want a phone that is 2X as thick as available today and has a 4 day battery life. Single day battery life today is only because of stupidity. we should be at the 1 week of battery like we had with the Razr flip phone.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        You know, if you only use your phone to make calls and 5-10 texts a day, most of today's phones will last at least 3-4 days, and some will last a week or more on a single charge. Of course, if you don't want to be stuck in Razr land and actually be able to use your phone's capabilities, well, then you're going to have to sacrifice somewhere. A double thick phone for me with everything extra being battery will likely only stretch me out to 2 full days on a single charge.
      • Cases with integrated batteries address this problem. The phone itself does not have to go in this direction.

        There is another thing about the Razr that is loved and missed. A small size that easily fit in the pocket. Thin and lightweight are an attempt to partially fulfill this Razr attribute. However today's handheld computers need a larger screen so we will always fall short of the Razr's convenience. An iPhone SE with the thickness and weight of an iPod touch might be convenient enough, ignoring the t
      • I want a phone that is 2X as thick as available today and has a 4 day battery life. Single day battery life today is only because of stupidity. we should be at the 1 week of battery like we had with the Razr flip phone.

        I want an android, i.e. a humanlike robot that can take care of household chores. Not some stupid old phone.

        (Google threatened to sue a robotics company called Zendroid because of naming similarities with their phone software. I guess the meaning of words doesn't matter any more.)

      • There are both solutions for you and products for you if you don't like those solutions. There's no reason I want a phone with a week battery life. My phone with a weak battery life is just fine and gets me from charger to charger without issue.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      I think people are actually not happy with how large physically smartphones are now. But they like having a large screen to look at. So the solution in their eyes is to get the largest screen they can on a phone of certain dimensions. Reducing the bezels around the screen, which they no not view as really important, allows this.

    • I would instead like one as rugged as my Panasonic "fully rugged" toughbooks rather than the fake rugged of the Casio G-Shock and Caterpillar licensed brands. No more light and thin, thank you.
      • Moto X Force [gearbest.com], you'll have to flash the updated Android rom yourself over at xda though, as Motorola is not releasing an update for the x1581 Model from China -- which is the just the Mexican model with a different radio configuration file. The US version x1580 available at a similar price ~$299 appears to only have single sim, possibly no micro-sd and only 32GB on-board flash.

        I've seen a few other ruggedized non-US brands around too though, even "budget" phones, like a BlackView BV6000 [gearbest.com] for < $200.

        Blac

    • It seems obvious to me you haven't been to Japan in the last few years. Their phones and mobile connections leave a lot to be desired. If people truly wanted fat phones someone would make a fat phone.
    • I could not agree more. The place I want no bezel is a wall-mounted display, or maybe one of those automotive displays that poke out of the dash like they taped a tablet to it. My phone absolutely needs a bezel. FWIW, literally everyone I have asked this question has said the same thing.

    • By an S7 edge and play with it before criticizing it. It isn't anywhere near as bad and dysfunctional as you think.

  • ...who would want a phone with NO bezel?

    How do you hold the damned thing?

    Seriously, if I'm showing him something on my phone, I have to treat elderly parents like toddlers with sticky fingers, holding it out of their reach because if they try to grab it I GUARANTEE they'll touch the screen and either cancel the video or somehow order me a new pair of shoes from Argentina. I don't know how.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Shananigans? It's just typical business. You think Rubin wouldn't have done the same thing if the situations were reversed?

  • Elitist pricks will have one less option to waste money on an expensive smartphone?

    Why the fuck should we care about that?

  • You're not losing $100M because of Apple, you're losing $100M investment because you didn't hold up your end of the bargain, in all other cases, a contract cannot just be voided at the whim of either party.

  • My phone has a bezel. O The Horror! O The Shame! How will I *ever* be cool when all the hip kids have phones without a bezel? Mom, Dad, I need a new phone IMMEDIATELY or I'll just DIE!!!

  • The creator of the 'Android operating system'? You can of course debate what exactly is an operating system, but as far as I am concerned 'uname' does have some say in it. 'Android' is just a load of complicated crap on top of the linux system... And Java... O, my God, Java...

    Paai

    • but as far as I am concerned 'uname' does have some say in it.

      As far as I'm concerned it doesn't. Just because it spits out some form of Linux, doesn't mean that it's anything like Linux, doesn't mean that it works like Linux, looks like Linux, or is capable of doing the things that we typically attribute to Linux.

      It's best to call different looking things by different names. Being pedantic just leads to the reason users are frustrated with IT types, confusing garbage.

Unix: Some say the learning curve is steep, but you only have to climb it once. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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