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Essential Phone in 'mass production' as Amazon, Tencent add backing
10 August 2017, 12:22 | Camille Rivera
Amazon and Best Buy will be retail launch partners for Essential Phone
In a tweet on Wednesday, Rubin announced that the company was in "mass production" of its phone, and that additional information would be available next week.
There's no doubt that the Essential Phone will be a much-appreciated new face in the overcrowded smartphone market, but people's faith in Essential won't last forever without an actual product on the market.
It turns out that the AmazonAlexa Fund and China-based Tencent Holdings have contributed the $300 million package. He additionally confirms that the company will reveal an availability date sometime next week. Both players make sense: the Alexa Fund exists to promote the spread of its AI-powered assistant service and the Essential Home hub is said to work with multiple assistant services in the marketplace; Tencent - led by China's richest person and thorn in Alibaba's side, Pony Ma - is a giant tech player that moves money around between worldwide tech startups. In the time since, the company has announced retail partners and exclusive carriers for each region, including Sprint in the USA and TELUS in Canada. Essential also disclosed that Best Buy Co. stores and Amazon.com Inc. will be its retail launch partners in the U.S.
The timing of the phone's release is unfortunately.
The Essential Phone has been highly anticipated because it is coming from Android's original creator, but the setbacks have started to wear on potential customers.
Are you still waiting on the Essential Phone?
In a statement, Paul Bernard, director of corporate development at Amazon's Alexa Fund, said the company was looking forward to collaborating with Essential.
Other investors listed on the company's site include Redpoint, Playground, Access Technology Ventures, VY Vapital, Altimeter Capital and Foxconn. The funding round comes from investors including Tencent, as well as Amazon's Alexa Fund, among others.
First published August 9, 8:58 a.m. PT. Update, 12:58 p.m.: Adds Andy Rubin's comments.
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