While it’s far from perfect, I’ve been enjoying my time with the Essential Phone over the past several weeks quite a bit. Despite the stock Android build, though, the experience hasn’t been perfect, and Essential has been working hard to fix it. In its latest Reddit AMA today, the company answered quite a few burning questions from fans, so let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
The best gifts for Android users
In case you weren’t aware, Essential is kicking off a bi-weekly AMA on the Essential sub-reddit which started a few days ago (via Droid-Life). These sessions will be hosted by members of the Essential team and are meant to answer some of the biggest questions on the minds of Essential Phone owners. Here are some of the biggest answers given last week.
Oreo is in testing, will arrive ‘in several weeks’ with a beta
The best part of shipping with stock Android is quick updates, and Essential is certainly working to bring that to its users. According to this AMA, the builds are in progress and the company wants to have a public beta available in a few weeks ahead of a global release.
…our QA team is in the process of testing Android Oreo as we speak to insure there are no regressions on the device. We are making great progress and target to have public beta available here within several weeks that you can try out before we release globally. We will make sure to publicly announce as soon as the Beta is available.
Night mode will arrive with Oreo, and fingerprint gestures are coming
One of the main complaints I had in my Essential Phone review was a lack of the “little things” that made the software experience complete, two of those being night mode and fingerprint gestures. Thankfully, both of these are coming soon.
[Night mode] depends on HWC2 which wasn’t ready for this chipset in the N timeframe. Good news though, you’ll have it in O (I love this feature too!) [Fingerprint gestures are] in progress but didn’t make it into today’s OTA. We’re targeting the next one.
A fix for that stuttering issue is in the works
One of the things I’ve noticed on my Essential Phone unit since the review is a weird issue with stuttering. Apparently, I’m not the only one, and the company is working to fix it in a coming update.
…yes we are aware of the issue related to the display touch and have a patch from Qualcomm we are testing internally. I saw the fix in action literally yesterday and the improvement is night and day. I think you guys will be really happy with it. Our plan is to get this out in one of the next upcoming OTA updates releasing a few weeks. Stay tuned!
…it is related to touch jitter, in part coming from non-uniformity of the coordinates getting fed into the upper layers. This device has in-cell touch, which improves noise immunity overall and makes the display thinner, but is requiring some extra tweaking to get things just right. The fix to the slow scrolling jitter is the first of several touch improvements we are working on, but we’ll be rolling them out one at a time as soon as they are ready
Apparently, mods don’t work properly with a skin
The ceramic back of the Essential Phone is gorgeous, but it picks up little scratches pretty easily. That’s caused many, myself included, to pick up a skin. Apparently, however, a skin can cause the 360-degree camera to work improperly because it causes too much feedback with the signal being sent.
The wireless connection with the 360 camera won’t work with a skin…The skin causes too much signal reflection with the 60Ghz signal we use to transmit the data.
The (gorgeous) white model is shipping soon, other still in development
During my first hands-on with the Essential Phone, I got the chance to play with the white variant of the phone, and I still maintain that it’s the best-looking color by far. Unfortunately, it wasn’t ready to ship at launch, but the company is finally preparing to ship that color in the next week or so. As for the “Ocean Depths” and “Stellar Grey” models, they’re still a ways off.
We are planning on sending out the letters for those who reserved white by the end of the week. The units are already built. Because of the holiday in China, customs may be backed up a few days. Ocean depths and Stellar Grey are under development.
You can check out the full AMA over on Reddit for a few more answers, and we’ll continue to keep an eye on these whenever they’re hosted for more new information about the Essential Phone.