Amazon makes an investment in the Essential Phone


Essential, Andy Rubin's new electronics startup, is getting ready to reveal more about its anticipated smartphone, even as it announced it has has an intriguing new backer - Amazon. All three images highlight the titanium frame and ceramic body in various machining stages.

With executives headed out the glass door, Andy Rubin's Essential is hurting in morale. The funding comes from Chinese giant Tencent and Amazon's Alexa Fund, to name a few. The company confirmed that Amazon and Best Buy will be its retail launch partners in the USA, and given the fact that Tencent is one of the largest Internet companies in China, it's possible that the phone will arrive in the world's largest smartphone market in the future.

With everything accounted for, The Wall Street Journal reports that Essential has managed to raise $330 million as it prepares to bring its first phone to market.

The phone's launch is delayed after Rubin, the creator of Google's Android, first promised a June release.

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Are you still waiting on the Essential Phone? But, even with its expanded war chest, the company will have a hard time trying to break into the highly competitive phone market, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

A few weeks ago, Essential said that the Essential Phone would be released in a few weeks. His big idea with Essential is to make things simpler for customers.

Earlier on Wednesday, the company announced that it's closed a new round of funding. Other investors included Playground, which is Rubin's own startup incubator, venture capital firm Redpoint, and tech investors Vy Capital and Altimeter Capital. The phone will also be available through Sprint in the USA and Telus in Canada.

First published August 9, 8:58 a.m. PT. Update, 12:58 p.m.: Adds Andy Rubin's comments.