This is the most beautiful phone I've ever seen - here's how it was made
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
That was my first thought when I unwrapped the ocean depths Essential Phone, which is neither blue nor green, but a deep jewel tone.It's made out of ceramic, and around the edge is a shiny, copper-colored titanium band. Altogether, it's a color combination that's never been used on a smartphone before - and it's quite possibly the best-looking phone I've ever seen. Advertisement
The Essential Phone, which is the brainchild of Android creator Andy Rubin, launched in August 2017. The phone debuted at $700, but its price was slashed by $200 a few months later amid reports of poor sales. Last month, research firm IDG estimated that Essential had sold fewer than 90,000 phones, a fraction of what Apple and Samsung typically sell.
Still, there's no denying that the Essential Phone is one of the more innovative smartphones to launch in recent years, and after using the device for a few weeks, I wanted to know how Essential's designers came up with the design for its phone - and why they chose such unusual color combinations.I talked with Linda Jiang, Essential's head of industrial design and the woman responsible for creating one of the most beautiful and unusual phones you can buy:
With the Essential Phone — technically called "PH-1" — Jiang and her team were starting from scratch.
If you look closely, you'll notice something different about the Essential Phone: it doesn't have any logos or branding on the back.Advertisement
The front of the Essential Phone looks like an average smartphone — except for the notch.
The Essential Phone is also different from other smartphones because it's made of ceramic and titanium, rather than glass and aluminum. The materials ultimately played a role in the colors chosen as well.Advertisement
The phone was originally only supposed to come in just one or two colors — but that didn't quite work out.
When Jiang started working with ceramic manufacturers, she realized it was going to be challenging to create the colors she wanted.Advertisement
In fact, that process is so experimental that Essential had a hard time finding ceramics manufacturers that would work with them.
Essential's ocean depths color — my personal favorite — was created at a plant in Japan. Jiang and a fellow designer traveled there to oversee the process, which took weeks.Advertisement
Jiang describes the ocean depths Essential Phone as "very fashion-forward."
Essential's phones feel premium — seriously, they're heavy — and Jiang says that's on purpose. "We're trying to go for all-out sophistication," she said. "It’s a phone for an adult."Advertisement
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