New startup OSOM working on privacy-focused hardware, software

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Essential Phone

Andy Rubin’s next project after Android isn’t exactly successful. Okay, make that “wasn’t” because the Essential team is no more. There was no big fuss about Essential’s end but a new startup was introduced recently composed of the same team that worked on Essential Products. The only difference is that Rubin isn’t part of the group. This isn’t really surprising because it’s been three years since we learned about Andy Rubin taking a a leave of absence from the company.

The last we heard about Essential was a former Essential designer sharing what-could-have-been smartphones. The Android 11 Developer Preview still reached the Essential Phone even if the startup started ceasing operations. An Essential Phone 2 was shown off by Rubin last year but that’s not launching.

Fast forward to several months later, a new group called OSOM wants to get back in the game. Rubin isn’t part of the team that wants to release a new hardware and software more focused on privacy. The launch may happen in the late 2021 according to a source.

Jason Keats, Essential Products’ former head of R&D, was working on the Project Gem last year. His dream to come up with a high-end device is still there. After some discussions with a colleague, he realized there is great need for something that is serious with privacy. There may be similar options but they’re not that perfect.

Keats was thinking of something that will be all about privacy. He then started OSOM. By then the Project Gem was no more. Keats said, “Essential had 80% of a great idea.” He added, “But we needed to come up with what really brought that last 20% — a focus on something. We’re focused on a singular vision in terms of what all our products are going to be, and we are bringing a whole suite of products to market.”

OSOM will be about privacy. Keats also said: “Everything we’re doing is built around privacy. It’s really about giving people a choice. Right now there’s no choice on who private information is shared with and how. We want consumers to own their privacy, own their data.”

Keats invited other people from Essential to work with him at OSOM. The latter is short for ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’. There is no product ready yet but the company’s goal is to come up with something that will give the people more control over data. Working on hardware and software carefully will enable them to design something that really works.

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