Essential lays off nearly one-third of its staff

Layoffs are never an easy pill to swallow, but for Essential, it seems the writing was on the wall for a while with this one. After months of reports highlighting its struggles, the Andy Rubin-led smartphone startup has announced some major layoffs.

All told, the company will be losing around 30 percent of its staff.

We’ve since confirmed the news, which was initially noted by Bloomberg. “This has been a difficult decision to make,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch. “We are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who are leaving the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers. We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product.”

The note strikes a similarly hopeful tone as past responses offered up in the wake of ongoing reports. Certainly the company went out of its way to acknowledge precisely how difficult it would be to launch a successful Android startup from the ground up in 2018. Ditto for the company’s plans to launch a smart speaker to compete with the Echo and Google Home — though that device has reportedly been placed on the back burner as the company looks for a way forward.

It’s been over a year since the company launched its first handset. That device got off to a rocky start, according to analysts, and in the meantime, the company has been fairly quiet on the hardware front, aside from a couple of accessories and a handful of deep discounts on the phone.

Hardware is hard — even when you’ve got the talent and experience to back it up.