Essential shows unreleased Gem phone in new videos

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Essential Gem hands-on video

Today Essential announced that it was shutting down and ending support for its Essential Phone. Before it completely disappears, though, the company is giving us another look at the tall, skinny phone it teased last year.

Essential has posted a few videos that show Gem, its smartphone with a tall display and hole-punch. We saw a few photos of the device last year, but we were left wondering 

The videos are brief but they give us a clear look at the Gem and what it looks like in action. We can see apps like Gmail, Outlook, Calendar, Maps, Instagram, and Spotify running on the Gem’s tall display.

Essential Gem keyboard

As you might expect from a phone with such a tall, thin display, this Essential Gem has a unique user interface. The videos from Essential are brief but they give us a clear look at the Gem in action, running apps like Gmail, Outlook, Calendar, and the built-in Camera app.

Instagram looks kind of funky on such a tall, skinny screen, but it appears to work like normal. Spotify works, too, and it’s got a landscape layout for viewing your library.

Essential Gem Instagram

The home screen of Essential’s Gem looks to be made up widgets and small squares for individual app shortcuts. We can see a couple of icons at the bottom of the screen for navigation — the bottom right icon is swiped on to go back home — and we also get a brief look at the phone’s keyboard that has a diagonal layout that would presumably make entering text on that skinny display easier.

Another video shows how voice control was a major focus of the Gem. Essential says that what you could do with touch on the phone, you could also do with voice, including controlling apps and settings.

Using the fingerprint reader on the back of the Gem, you could designate a finger for voice controls. When you place this finger on the fingerprint reader, you could use voice to perform tasks like conducting a message.

Essential Gem hardware video

A fourth video from Essential focuses on the Gem hardware. The phone has a glass unibody construction and an edge-to-edge OLED display with a hole-punch camera in its upper left corner. We can also see that the rear camera protrudes from the phone’s body.

“Our vision was to invent a mobile computing paradigm that more seamlessly integrated with people’s lifestyle needs,” Essential said of Gem today. “Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers.”

What do you think of Essential’s Gem? Do you think you would’ve liked using its tall, skinny screen and voice controls?



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