Andy Rubin, Android creator, speaks during the Bloomberg Technology Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Android Creator’s Startup Essential Products Cuts About 30% of Staff

(Bloomberg) -- Essential Products Inc., the startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, has cut about 30 percent of its employees, according to people familiar with the matter.

The reductions affect staff in the company’s hardware, marketing, and sales divisions, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private moves. The company has about 120 employees, according to its website.

The cuts come several months after the company canceled plans for a second version of its smartphone and paused development of a home smart device that would compete with Amazon.com Inc. and Google.

"This has been a difficult decision to make. We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers," an Essential spokeswoman wrote in an email. "We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product."

Rubin launched a smartphone last year that pioneered the now-familiar all-screen look used by Apple Inc.’s iPhone and the latest Google Pixel phones. But the Essential Phone struggled to sell due to its relatively high price and software bugs.

The Palo Alto, California-based company is backed by about $300 million, making it Silicon Valley’s most ambitious consumer-electronics startup in years. The company spent about $100 million developing its first products, and Rubin put Essential up for sale, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.

The company is now pinning its future on a different phone with a small screen that will try to mimic the user and automatically respond to messages on their behalf.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.