Amazon, Tencent back smartphone maker Essential Products
San Francisco : American technology company Essential Products has announced that its new smartphone will be available soon and has now got the backing of Amazon and Chinese investment holding company Tencent.
"We are in full mass production, ramping up to deliver your Essential Phone. Find out where you can get yours next week!" Andy Rubin, who established Essential Phone start-up, tweeted on Wednesday.
The announcement comes at a time when the world is eagerly waiting for two of the most powerful devices - Samsung Note 8 and iPhone 8 and the devices will look forward to disrupting the duopoly of Samsung and Apple from the smartphone market.
Rubin, a co-creator of the Android mobile operating system, said he plans to announce next week when the $699 devices will become available. It was first promised a June release.
According to a report in CNet, the smartphone startup has raised $300 million in new funding and signed up retailers to sell its first device.
The startup has gained important backers, including Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn, who have come on as strategic investors, joining prior investors Playground, a startup accelerator co-founded by Rubin and venture capital firm Redpoint.
The Essential Phone will be sold unlocked on Amazon and Best Buy.
The latest funding round gives Essential a valuation of about $900 million to $1 billion, the report said.
Rubin said the new phone that runs on Ambient OS would make things simpler for customers.
Along with the phone, Essential is also developing a smart home hub. Amazon, which has a leading position in smart speakers with its Echo, invested in Essential via its Alexa Fund.
"Essential Products has a compelling vision and roadmap for connected devices that integrate voice technology in novel ways," Paul Bernard, Director Of Corporate Development for the Alexa Fund, was quoted as saying.
Access Technology Ventures, a venture-capital firm, led the latest investment round, which also included Australia's sovereign-wealth fund and tech investors Vy Capital and Altimeter, the report noted.