Essential Android Phone Launches with 360 Immersive Camera

Android founder Andy Rubin launched his new phone today, and it’s available for pre-order with a 360 camera accessory. The device, dubbed “Essential Phone,” is a $699 Android phone whose hallmark features are a near-bezel less display and a magnetic accessory port. The first accessory announced for Essential is the 360 camera, which costs $50 if pre-ordered with the phone. That price will jump to $199 after the pre-order promotion.

In a (very short) blog post, Xiaoyu Miao, principle hardware engineer for Essential’s parent company, Playground, explains why he’s high on 360 immersive cameras:

The 360 camera captures the entire world around the user, which fundamentally changes how we take a picture. You don’t have to aim your camera, because you capture everything in your world. I think that’s a major difference.

Kind of an underwhelming reason, no? I’m chalking it up to a poorly written bit of communications; Essential’s site makes it pretty clear they’re banking on streamed and shared immersive video becoming a big force in consumer technology over the next few years.

Whether or not anyone wants to carry around a snap-on phone camera is another question, entirely.