Essential Phone

This morning, news broke that Andy Rubin, founder of Essential, would be taking a personal leave of absence from the company following a report about misconduct while at Google. Despite this news, Essential went ahead with its bi-weekly Reddit AMA and announced several new updates coming to the Phone and future development…

First, in the description for today’s AMA, Essential wrote, “We see there are a few questions about Andy given the news that he is taking a personal leave of absence. It’s business as usual here and today we have folks from the engineering team to answer your product and technical questions.” Obviously, the company knew it was going to have to address the issue surrounding its founder.

Secondly, there were a good number of people asking about Rubin, how long he would be gone, and if the company would continue to support the Phone. Essential gave the following response:

We absolutely will be continuing to support the PH-1 device including security patches, more camera features and additional worldwide carrier support throughout the lifecycle of the PH-1 device. We still have plenty of work, continued release milestones on the roadmap, and new features we want to deliver from the great feedback we get in these AMAs. We are looking forward to supporting you guys for a long time.

Several weeks ago, Essential kept its promise to bring Oreo to the Phone by November 14th, and it succeeded in doing so by introducing a user-installable beta build. Looks like an updated beta is just around the corner that’ll fix some bugs.

Since several are asking, we are targeting to release Oreo Beta v.2 to our website next week as an update to the existing Oreo beta build. General fixes in BT performance, improved battery, and general stability improvements. Stay tuned to our socials for official announcement.

And speaking of bugs in the Oreo beta, Essential says it’s working on fixing any Android Auto-related issues.

We are aware of this issue specifically with newer Honda’s. We have a potential fix in build that we have our field test team going out to validate at dealerships this week.

The same goes for some scrolling jitters some users have been experiencing.

As we mentioned in the last AMA, screen scrolling jitter issues we are continuing to improve on. You and several others have brought this to our attention and we have realized that we owe our supporters a better solution. We are working with our vendors to this further and committed internal and external resources looking into it. Hoping to have something in the next Beta build to improve on this further. We appreciate your patience while we sort through this.

One of the most significant announcements from this AMA is that Essential is finally rolling out an update to the Phone’s camera application that will enable Portrait mode and more.

Portrait mode coming in a play store drop today along with improved JPEG compression + more bug fixes and stability improvements

One of Essential’s big promises when Rubin first discussed the company was an entire ecosystem of products and accessories that would work seamlessly together. One of these accessories is the wireless charging dock for the Phone. Thankfully, it looks as though it’ll be coming sooner than later.

Charging Dock is on its way. Last build is completed, waiting for regulatory. After that, it will be available on the website. As you know, we want to make sure we any date we give, we will meet.

Since its launch, the Essential Phone has only been available in Black Moon and Pure White, with the latter just coming to the market a short time back. According to the company, more colors are still being worked on and should be available soon.

We should have the Stellar Gray before the Ocean. Stellar should be finished before the end of the year, but again, check website for availability

Lastly, Essential talked about the second generation Phone. After a quick jab at iFixIt, the company states that it’s looking for ways to make the handset more easily repairable.

We are focusing on reparability for the next generation phone. The iFixit article was a bit misleading in its approach for repair and oddly were briefed on repair procedures but still tried to go through the back. We will make sure that your phone can be repaired at a reasonable and competitive price if the consumables, like batteries need to be replaced. For instance, our repair plan for customer damaged displays that need to be replaced.

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About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.