Courtesy of Linda Jiang
Linda Jiang, the 27- year old Head of Industrial Design at Essential Products, has created one of the most anticipated products of 2017– a new smartphone that has caught the attention of tech giants such as Apple and Samsung.
The Essential Phone, or PH-1, took Jiang roughly a year and a half to design and is the flagship product of the tech company founded in 2015 by Android co-founder and developer Andy Rubin. Its design is somewhat a combination of the iPhone and Samsung, but the standout features include the 360-camera attachment and even more notably, the lack of a logo.
“Companies tend to put logos on the back so that when you’re holding your phone and talking on it, you’re a walking advertisement,” Jiang said in an interview with Refinery29.
Jiang went on to say their audience includes “People that are sick of being at the whim of Samsung and Apple and want to try something new.”
Jiang herself is also a fresh face in tech and is paving the way for other women of color in the industry. After she enrolled at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and subsequently secured an internship with Motorola, Jiang was one of the few women in the room.
She credits another woman at Motorola for giving her the tools to prosper in a predominately male environment. She later joined forces with Playground, a startup founded by Rubin, and eventually became one of the first three employees of Essential Products.
“There were times where I wanted to cry after a meeting because I felt like nothing I said ever got through”Linda Xinrui Jiang
Since its founding in November of 2015, Essential’s main goal is not to necessarily rival Apple and Samsung, but offer a fresh product to consumers. Jiang does, however, acknowledge the competition: “This is not an industry you can be standstill and comfortable–there’s always a new tech company, and you’re constantly chasing after the giants. You really have to be on your feet, which is really exhilarating.”
As for her future with Essential and the tech industry in general, Jiang says “I have all the energy to do that right now so I’m going to keep on doing it for awhile.”