Essential Phone

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Essential Phone
Essential logo.svg
Essential Phone in ocean depths.jpg
Developer Essential Products
Manufacturer Essential Products
Slogan Free Yourself
Model PH-1
Compatible networks UMTS/HSPA+: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A: 0, 1, 10
LTE-FDD: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 66
LTE-TDD: 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43
TD-SCDMA: 34, 39
Availability by country
Type Smartphone
Form factor Slate
Dimensions 141.5 mm (5.57 in) H
71.1 mm (2.80 in) W
7.8 mm (0.31 in) D
Weight 185 g (6.5 oz)
Operating system Android 7.1.1 "Nougat"[2]
System on chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
CPU Octa-core (4x2.45 GHz & 4x1.9 GHz) Kryo 280
GPU Adreno 540
Memory 4 GB RAM
Storage 128 GB UFS 2.1
Battery 3,040 mAh, not user-replaceable
Display 5.71 inches (14.5 cm) 2560 x 1312 QHD, 500 cd/m² brightness, 19.5:10 aspect ratio
Rear camera 13 MP dual RGB + monochrome camera with f/1.85 lens, hybrid autofocus combining contrast, phase detect and IR laser, video at 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps or 720p 120fps
Front camera 8 MP resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio, f/2.2 fixed hyperfocal lens, video at 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps or 720p 120fps
Connectivity Bluetooth 5 LE
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO
NFC, GPS and GLONASS
USB Type-C
Other Titanium body
Ceramic back
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 cover glass
Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
Modular pogo pins that transmit over Wireless USB
Website essential.com
References [3][4]

The Essential Phone (officially Phone or PH-1)[5] is an Android smartphone designed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, and manufactured, developed and marketed by Essential Products. The phone was officially unveiled on May 30, 2017.

The Essential Phone has a titanium and ceramic body, an edge-to-edge display protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and dual-lens camera—one lens of which has a sensor dedicated to black-and-white photography. Accompanying the phone is a 360-degree camera that can be attached to the top of the device.

History

Pre-release

Eric Schmidt and Andy Rubin

Bloomberg reported in January 2017 that Andy Rubin, co-founder of the Android operating system acquired by Google in 2005, was preparing to announce a new hardware company called Essential, whose first hardware product would be the "Essential" Phone.[6][7]

The phone first appeared in a tweet by Rubin, posted on March 27, 2017.[8][9] In a quote of the tweet, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed the phone would run Android.[10] A few days prior to the official announcement, Essential tweeted an image of what appeared to be a 360-degree camera attached to the smartphone.[11][12] The Verge exclusively announced the device on 30 May 2017, hours ahead of Rubin's onstage announcement at a technology conference.[13]

Specifications

Hardware

The Essential Phone has a titanium and ceramic chassis,[13][14] an edge-to-edge display with an unusual 19:10 aspect ratio protected with Gorilla Glass 5,[15], a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage.[13] The phone has a two 13 MP cameras with f/1.85 lenses, one of which acts as a dedicated monochrome sensor for black-and-white photography.[16] Its front-facing camera has an 8 MP sensor with an f/2.2 lens.[16] It was made available in black, gray, white and "Ocean Depths" color options.[16] Accompanying the phone is a 360-degree camera that can be attached to its top of the and a charging dock accessory is also available.[13] It has a USB-C connector but no 3.5 mm headphone jack.[4][13]

A second Click Connector device will be a charging dock.[17] As of January 2018, an accessory with a headphone jack was being developed,[18] and more accessories were due to be released.[19]

Network compatibility

The Essential Phone is compatible with the four largest wireless carriers in the United States,[20][21] but the exclusive carrier partner is Sprint.[22][23][24] In Canada, Telus is the exclusive carrier partner.[25][26][27]

In July 2017, it was reported Essential was planning to sell the Essential Phone in other markets, including the United Kingdom, with a possible partnership with EE,[28][29] Japan, and Europe.[30][31]

Bands
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A
(CDMA band number)
GSM
(MHz)
UMTS
(UTRA band number)
LTE-FDD
(E-UTRA band number)
LTE-TDD
(E-UTRA band number)
TD-SCDMA

(E-UTRA band number)

0, 1, 10 850/900/1800/1900 1, 2, 4–6, 8 1–8, 11–13, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28–39, 66 38–43 34, 39

Software

Essential Phone runs Android, without modifications.[4] It has an unlocked bootloader, potentially allowing for a significant developer community wanting to further customize its software.[32] Rubin published a blog post on August 16, 2017, promising two years of Android updates and three years of monthly security patches.[33]

Special editions

In February 2018, three new colors of the phone were announced for sale on the Essential website, Ocean Depths (teal back with bronze sides), Stellar Gray, and Copper Black.[34]

An Amazon-exclusive version of the Essential Phone was also launched that month with a "halo grey" color and Alexa built-in.[35]

Issues

Meltdown and Spectre

In January 2018, the phone quickly received a patch to fix the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities after they were revealed. Until this time, only phones by Google had these vulnerabilities patched.[36]

Availability delay

Rubin announced on May 30, 2017, that the Essential Phone would ship in approximately 30 days,[37][38] i.e. June 2017.[39] This estimated timetable was not met, however, without Essential responding to media queries.[40][41][42] In mid-July, Rubin sent an email to potential customers saying carrier certification and testing were underway, and that he expected the device to be shipped "in a few weeks".[43] After a series of delays and the lack of an exact release date, Best Buy put up listings for the Essential Phone,[44] which went live on August 17.[45] On August 9, 2017, Rubin announced the phone was in mass production, and that a release date would be announced in the next week.[46][47][48] The Essential Phone was then confirmed to start shipping by the fourth week of August, according to an email sent by Rubin to customers.[49] It began shipping in batches by August 25.[1]

Customer data leak

On August 29, 2017, reports emerged that hundreds of customers who ordered the Essential Phone started receiving e-mails from an @essential address. The e-mail contained an official-looking request for a "photo ID" of the customer to "verify information to complete the processing of the recent order". Essential later tweeted that they were aware of the recent e-mails received by some customers and that they were investigating them and had taken steps to mitigate problems.[50][51][52] Rubin personally apologized and one year of LifeLock was offered to affected customers; around 70 people were affected.[53] Some customers' drivers' licenses were leaked over e-mail as well.[54] Customers affected by the data leak got the phone for free.[55][56]

Touch issues

In October 2017, some handsets had a display touch scrolling "jitteriness" issue. Essential said they were working on the problem and a software patch would be released.[57]

Trade secret lawsuit

Keyssa, a startup company owned by Nest co-founder Tony Fadell and specializing in wireless data transmission, filed a lawsuit accusing Essential of trade secret theft in October 2017. Keyssa said it was in talks with Essential for roughly 10 months to help provide the technology behind connecting Essential's new Android phone and their planned future products. Essential wanted to incorporate a Keyssa-developed microchip in the Essential Phone to provide functionality to their modular accessories, but turned to a similar company, SiBeam, to produce the microchip. Keyssa says Essential stole its proprietary technology because the non-disclosure agreements it signed protected the two companies' meetings and prevented Essential from using those trade secrets to make commercial products.[58][59]

Keyssa has not been compensated for Essential's use of this guidance and know-how. We are pursuing this action because our attempts to resolve this matter through discussions with Essential have not been successful.

— Keyssa[60]

Reception

Critical reception

The Essential Phone received generally positive reviews. Much of the criticism was directed towards the camera performance, and the omission of a headphone jack.[61]

  • Wired positively noted its design, battery life, performance and stock Android OS, but disliked the camera and built-in speaker. They gave it a score of 8/10.[62]
  • Engadget praised its build quality, edge-to-edge display, performance, battery life and clean build of Android 7.1.1, but criticized the screen's brightness, and the lack of a headphone jack and water resistance.[63]
  • iFixit gave the phone a 1 out of 10 in terms of repairability because it is almost impossible to open without freezing and ultimately breaking it.[64]
  • CNET noted that despite Essential's claims about the device's toughness, it can still suffer from dents during normal use, and the screen may crack if dropped from a height.[65]
  • This Week in Tech praised the design, specs, and OS, but noted the phone's screen cracked during normal use without being dropped, and criticized the performance of the cameras and a camera accessory.[66]

Sales

In its first month of release, shipments of the Essential Phone were very low, with sales of around 5,000 units estimated being sold through Sprint.[67] Due to low demand, Essential reduced the price of the phone from an initial US$699 to a more "reasonable" US$499. Customers who purchased the phone at the original price could claim a US$200 "friends and family" code that could be used to purchase the 360-degree camera module or another Essential Phone.[68][69]

They claim six figure sales numbers.[70]

Successor

According to designers at Essential, the PH-2 is in the works.[71]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Maring, Joe (July 17, 2017). "Andy Rubin's Essential Phone is Confirmed to Run Android 7.1.1 Nougat". XDA Developers. Archived from the original on July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Specifications". Essential Products. Archived from the original on June 1, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Bohn, Dieter (May 30, 2017). "The Essential Phone: A first look at the hardware". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Andy Rubin, creator of Android, debuts his new Essential Phone" (YouTube Video). Recode. Hosted by Walt Mossberg. May 30, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  6. ^ Gurman, Mark; Bergen, Mark (January 13, 2017). "Andy Rubin Nears His Comeback, Complete With an 'Essential' Phone". Bloomberg Technology. Bloomberg. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  7. ^ Welch, Chris (January 13, 2017). "Android's co-founder is building a new company and a new kind of smartphone". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (March 27, 2017). "Andy Rubin teases a first look at Essential's bezel-less smartphone". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  9. ^ Conditt, Jessica (March 27, 2017). "Android creator Andy Rubin teases his new smartphone". Engadget. AOL. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  10. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (March 29, 2017). "Google's Eric Schmidt confirms the Essential smartphone runs Android". The Verge. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  11. ^ Thomson, Iain (May 26, 2017). "Andy Rubin teases next week's launch of Essential phone". The Register. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  12. ^ Kovach, Steve (May 25, 2017). "The creator of Android just teased a weird new accessory for his top-secret phone". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Bohn, Dieter (May 30, 2017). "Exclusive: this is the Essential Phone". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ Balakrishnan, Anita (May 30, 2017). "There's room for more than one 'love brand' in phones, says the COO of Andy Rubin's new company". CNBC. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ Smith, Chris (May 30, 2017). "The Essential phone that's going after the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 is finally here". BGR. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c Zhang, Michael (May 30, 2017). "The Essential Phone Has Dual Cameras, 4K, and a Dedicated B&W Sensor". PetaPixel. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  17. ^ Cite error: The named reference Summary of Essential's Reddit AMA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  18. ^ Maggio, Edoardo. "The flagship phone from the creator of Android is getting a headphone jack – but as a paid accessory". Business Insider. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2017. 
  19. ^ Scrivens, Scott (11 January 2018). "Essential has some new accessories available, including USB-C earbuds and a fast charger". Android Police. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  20. ^ Welch, Chris (May 30, 2017). "US carriers confirm they'll support the Essential Phone". The Verge. Archived from the original on May 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Essential Phone now approved to work on Verizon". The Verge. Archived from the original on September 17, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  22. ^ Baig, Edward C. (June 12, 2017). "Sprint to be exclusive carrier of 'Essential' phone". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  23. ^ Bohn, Dieter (June 12, 2017). "The Essential Phone is launching as a Sprint exclusive, but will still work on other carriers". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  24. ^ Dunn, Jeff (June 12, 2017). "Andy Rubin's Essential phone will be a Sprint 'exclusive' – but you can use it on other carriers if you want". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  25. ^ Westall, Jake (June 15, 2017). "Telus Announces Essential Phone Availability for Canada". XDA Developers. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  26. ^ Bonifacic, Igor (June 15, 2017). "Andy Rubin's Essential Phone is coming exclusively to Telus this summer". MobileSyrup. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Essential Phone is now available to purchase in US and Canada". GSMArena.com. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017. 
  28. ^ Summers, Nick (July 17, 2017). "Essential's first smartphone is coming to the UK". Engadget. AOL. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  29. ^ Ghosh, Shona (July 17, 2017). "A new smartphone from the man who created Android is reportedly coming to the UK". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Archived from the original on July 18, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  30. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (July 17, 2017). "The Essential Phone is reportedly coming to Japan, the UK, and other European countries". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  31. ^ Dobie, Alex (July 17, 2017). "Essential Phone reportedly coming to the UK, Europe and Japan". Android Central. Mobile Nations. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  32. ^ Kondrat, Tomek (June 3, 2017). "Essential Phone Will have an Unlockable Bootloader". XDA Developers. Archived from the original on July 9, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Essential Phone, available now". Essential. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  34. ^ Brown, Scott (February 16, 2018). "Essential Phone to come in three new, limited edition colors". Android Authority. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  35. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (February 16, 2018). "Essential made an Amazon-exclusive version of its phone with Alexa preinstalled". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  36. ^ Patel, Idrees (6 January 2018). "Essential Phone Starts Receiving January 2018 Security Patch Update". xda-developers. Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  37. ^ Lawler, Richard (May 30, 2017). "Andy Rubin's Essential phone should ship next month". Engadget. AOL. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017. 
  38. ^ Statt, Nick (May 30, 2017). "The first Essential Phones will begin shipping in June". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Andy Rubin's Essential is now valued at over a billion dollars without shipping a single phone". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 14, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  40. ^ Statt, Nick (July 10, 2017). "Andy Rubin's Essential is staying quiet on the Essential Phone delay". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  41. ^ Kovach, Steve (July 6, 2017). "The new phone from the creator of Android didn't ship when he said it would". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017. 
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  47. ^ "Essential Phone's actual release date will be revealed in a week". TechRadar. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
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  51. ^ Mix (August 30, 2017). "Essential Phone customers are being blasted with phishing emails". The Next Web. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
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  54. ^ Bohn, Dieter (August 30, 2017). "In colossal screw up, Essential shared customers' driver's licenses over email". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  55. ^ "Update: Customers affected by personal data leak will get Essential Phone for free". Android Authority. August 31, 2017. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
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  58. ^ "Tony Fadell-backed company sues Andy Rubin's Essential over wireless connector tech". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
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  68. ^ "Essential Phone now priced at $499, previous buyers get a $200 'friends and family' code". Android Authority. 2017-10-22. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  69. ^ "The Essential Phone now costs $499, $200 less than the original price". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  70. ^ Conway, Adam (16 February 2018). "Google Pixel Shipments Doubled to 3.9 Million in 2017". xda-developers. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  71. ^ "A second Essential phone is already in the works". Alphr. Retrieved 2017-11-07. 

Further reading

  • Android Central — Essential offers a sneak peek at its camera capabilities

External links

  • Official website
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