Andy Rubin, the man who created Android, has unveiled his Essential Phone today. One of the key new aspects of the Android-powered smartphone is a new modular system designed for additional accessories. Essential’s first accessory is a tiny 360 camera that clips to the rear of the Essential Phone. It’s less than 35 grams in weight, and includes dual 12-megapixel fisheye sensors that can capture 4K 360 video at 30fps.
There’s even four microphones for audio capture, and two accessory power pins help keep the camera powered while it’s clipped into the rear of the Essential Phone. Essential is really betting on its 360 camera as a differentiator to the usual Android phones on the market, and the company’s head of optics and imaging, Xiaoyu Miao, believes 360 “changes everything.” In a blog post on the new 360 camera, Miao explains why he thinks the industry has major issues with 360 cameras. “The cameras are bulky and expensive, especially if you want a good one,” explains Miao. "The user experience and workflow for taking a picture and uploading it to your social network is cumbersome.”
Miao claims the miniaturized Essential camera helps combat these common issues. The 360 camera will be available alongside the Essential Phone for an extra $50 if you buy them together, or $199 separately. Essential is only shipping its devices in the US right now, but you can order both the Phone and 360 camera over at the company’s online store.
Andy Rubin will be on stage tonight at Code. You can watch it live starting at 6PM PT / 9PM ET.