Programmatic Lunch

Amazon and Tencent among backers of Android creator Andy Rubin's Essential

Tyrone Stewart

Essential PhoneEssential Products, the electronics startup formed by Android co-creator Andy Rubin, has received backing from the likes of Amazon and Tencent in a $300m (£231m) funding round.

The round was led by an $100m investment from Access Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of Access Industries, owner of Warner Music Group. The remaining $200m was covered by Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Tencent Holdings, Redpoint Ventures, Altimeter Capital, and Vy Capital. The Series B round puts the company’s total funding at $330m.

On Twitter, Rubin revealed that the Essential Phone was now in “full mass production”, and said that he would announce where people will be able to pick up the handsets next week.

The modular Android smartphone will cost $699 at launch, and feature an edge-to-edge display that wraps around the device’s front-facing camera. Owners will have the option to connect a 360° camera to the top of the phone that wirelessly transfers data, while the charging dock uses a magnetic system, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is dropped for a headphone dongle.

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