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How Android Co-Founder Plans To Stop Smartphone Addiction


Andy Rubin's new company wants to change the way we interact with our Android devices

During a recent trip to a luxury restaurant, Andy Rubin saw an all too familiar picture: a couple in what appeared to be a first date taking photos of their food and then getting lost in their smartphones for the next 10 minutes. Rubin is partly responsible for this antisocial behavior; It helped create Android, which feeds 85 percent of the world's smartphones.


Last week marked the debut of Essential's first gadget. The essential phone is an anomaly: a smart and premium smartphone not designed by Apple, Samsung or a Chinese discount brand. It has a ceramic back with mirror, titanium edges, a screen that covers most of the front of the phone and a magnetic connector for a new world of accessories and hardware upgrades that say it will allow people to hang on their phones more weather.

Rubin recognizes that Essential faces a formidable competition, especially of Apple and Samsung. But while applauding the brand's power of the former and the vertical integration of the latter, he said that "every saturated market needs an interruption. When there is a duopoly, that's the time to do it."

He says it's best to see Essential's first phone as a starting point - it works the same Android operating system like Google's pixel - it's not a radical departure.

"If I can get to the point where your phone is a virtual version of you, you can be enjoying your life, having that dinner, not touching your phone, and you can rely on your phone to do things on your behalf," he says. "I think I can sort out some of the addictive behavior."


Rubin, 54, has been in the game over the phone for almost 20 years. In the first aughts, he led the development of a phone called Hiptop (later known as the Sidekick) which included a large screen, full physical keyboard, and running applications. Announced the arrival of the smartphone monster. Rubin left in 2003 to start over, creating a mobile software release called Android that he sold to Google in 2005. After turning Android into the world's top operating system, he left three years ago to start working on his third act: Essential.

Basic plans to ship the first six accessories, starting with a 360 degree 4K video camera and an inductive charging spring.

It will not reveal what the laser is for, but rather refers to the lasers used in cars that drive themselves to measure the distance between objects. During the interview, Rubin was so excited about the two new accessories; he rushed to his office to look for prototypes of circuits.

In a short time, says Rubin, phones and other devices will be able to predict what the user needs, classifying notifications, ignoring some and highlighting others depending on the time of day or where the person is. "If someone tells you that you want to take the sushi tonight?", It will give you six answers, and you will choose the best answer. And over time, you're reinforcing it by giving it the right answer, and you realize your taste and your preferences, and probably the umpteenth time, it will not ask you more. "

The essential boss recalls having recently been finalized by someone who sent text messages - a growing problem he says could be solved with artificial intelligence. "Distraction is something that is solvable if you have a virtual version of doing things while doing more important things," he says.


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