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

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SoftBank is backing out of its deal to provide about $100 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, $100+ million round of funding from major investors.

Essential's first phone was expected to launch this spring or this summer.

The WSJ report says SoftBank's investment would've valued Essential around $1 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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