Earlier this year, Android founder Andy Rubin surprised everyone when he announced the Essential smartphone. It's not that people were surprised to see Rubin working on a high-end luxury Android device -- it's that he created a brand-new company to make it, without backing from one of the smartphone business's big names.
Despite what you might think from looking at Apple's Scrooge-sized pile of iPhone cash, making money off smartphones is hard business. Sony, HTC, LG, and Motorola have all lost vast amounts of time and money trying. It's even harder to sell phones as an unknown brand, and doubly so when your price is right up there with the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7.
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