After taking a break from the negative spotlight for a couple of months, Essential is back in the news. Reports have surfaced saying the company has laid off about 30 percent of its workforce.
Essential has a staff strength of about 120, that means about 36 people were laid off. According to Bloomberg, the affected members of staff were from the sales, marketing, and hardware departments.
A spokeswoman for the company said in an e-mail that it was a tough decision to make and they are sorry about the impact. The mail also says “we are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product.”
Essential launched its first phone, the PH-1 more than a year ago. Due to a number of issues the phone didn’t do well. It canceled plans of a successor this year and even suspended some other hardware devices it had in development. Other than the 360° VR camera, Essential has not released a new modular product for the PH-1. An audio attachment for the phone has been in development for months but still doesn’t have a release date.
There was a report last week that the Andy Rubin-led company is working on an AI phone that will learn the owner’s habits and be able to respond to emails and messages. It will also have a small screen. We don’t know if Essential is still going forward with this plan.