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Amazon, Tencent back Android creator's smartphone venture

Essential Products Inc., the smartphone company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, has secured $300 million in funding.

Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa Fund and Tencent Holdings Ltd. participated in the funding round led by Access Technology Ventures, which invested $100 million. Other investors include Redpoint Ventures, VY Capital and Altimeter Capital. In return, Access will get a place on Essential's board, according to an Aug. 9 news release.

Meanwhile, Rubin tweeted that the Essential smartphone is currently in mass production and the company will release launch-related details in the week of Aug. 14.

The Essential Phone will cost $699 when it launches and will have Sprint Corp. as distribution partner in the U.S. and TELUS Corp. in Canada, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The phone will be sold unlocked on Amazon, Best Buy and Essential.com.