Essential is reportedly canceling the development of a follow-up to the Essential Phone and considering selling itself.
The company has hired Credit Suisse to provide advice on a potential sale, and has received attention from at least one potential buyer, as reported by Bloomberg. Any deal would allegedly involve all of Essential’s assets, including patents, workers, and unreleased devices.
The company was co-founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, who responded to rumors on Twitter.
“We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigger hits,” he wrote. “We are putting all of our efforts towards our future, game-changing products, which include mobile and home products.”
Essential debuted last year to mixed results, with $300 million in investments from firms like Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn, its manufacturing partner and also the assembly partner for Apple’s iPhone. Over $100 million of that has been spent on developing the company’s first products.
The Android-based Essential Phone beat its competitors in delivering an edge-to-edge display with a “notch,” but has sold poorly compared to expectations. As few as 20,000 units may have been sold at the phone’s original $699 price, and even after a $200 price cut, sales may not be much higher than 150,000.
The company has reportedly lost “dozens” of engineers, and top-level executives like hardware engineering head Joe Tate.