SoftBank backs out of $100 million investment in a new smartphone startup from the guy who started Android

Andy RubinFlickr/Joi ItoAndy Rubin.

SoftBank is backing out of its deal to provide $US100 million in funding to a new hardware startup led by Andy Rubin, the man who started Android and sold it Google, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The startup, called Essential, is working on a high-end smartphone designed to compete with Apple’s iPhone, sources previously told Business Insider.

Business Insider has also heard that Essential was close to completing a large, $US100+ million round of funding from major investors that it was expected to announce soon.

Essential’s first phone is expected to launch this spring or summer.

The WSJ report says SoftBank’s investment would have valued Essential around $US1 billion.

A spokesperson for Essential declined to comment. A spokesperson for Softbank was not immediately available for comment.

Biz Carson contributed reporting to this story.

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