The new smartphone from the creator of Android may start shipping in a few weeks

Andy Rubin at wired business conference
Andy Rubin, Android creator and CEO of Essential. Getty Images for Wired

Essential, the new startup from Android creator Andy Rubin, announced on Friday that it’s close to shipping its new smartphone.

In an email to potential customers who signed up for information on the device, Rubin says it will start shipping “in a few weeks.” Essential later tweeted the update as well.

Rubin originally said the Essential phone would launch in June, but missed that self-imposed deadline.

Since then, the company has lost its head of marketing and head of communications, a troublesome sign for a company that hasn’t launched a product yet. Essential did not respond to multiple requests for comment in recent weeks.

The Essential phone starts at $US699 unlocked and will be sold directly through the company’s website. Sprint will be the only US carrier that sells the phone in stores. A few international carriers have also agreed to sell the Essential phone.

The new smartphone is just the first product on Essential’s roadmap. It also plans to release a gadget called Home, which acts as a hub for your smart appliances and powered by a new operating system Essential calls Ambient OS.

Essential ph-1
A close look at the Essential phone. YouTube/ReCode

Here’s what Rubin sent to potential Essential customers on Friday: