Andy Rubin answers your biggest Essential Phone questions


About an hour ago, Andy Rubin, the founder of Android and now Essential, started an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit. The thread is being flooded with various questions regarding the PH-1 itself, upcoming accessories, as well as important information regarding the camera. We’ve gone through the thread and found some of the most interesting tidbits of information regarding Essential, the Essential Phone, and what’s coming in the future.

What about the camera?

Essential Phone Camera Sample

What are your plans to address the widespread criticism of the PH-1’s camera?

Hi! We are pretty happy with the hardware design of the camera. We are using computational photography to fuse a monochrome and color sensors. That’s the part we’re not too happy about, but luckily it’s software and we’ve already done a number of updates to the app to fix bug and add features. – andyR

The first question was going to be the most obvious one, as /u/Kay1000RR asked about the camera issues that have been notably plaguing the PH-1. The answer from Mr. Rubin himself isn’t all that surprising but does confirm that the issues being found are software related, and not hardware related. Meaning that this makes things easier for the team at Essential to issue software updates to address issues, other than leaving owners of the device with “potato” cameras until the device can be replaced.

Custom Development and Android O?

What is essentials stand on custom development? When will kernel sources be released? Will you release factory images like google does with nexus/pixel devices? Android OREO ETA?

We are excited about supporting 3rd party developers. We’ll be releasing our kernel and factory images in the next few days. Android O will be coming in the next month or two.


The next question is another big one, as /u/zrspong asks about custom ROM development, along with kernel sources and an ETA for Android Oreo. The most exciting news here comes regarding the fact that Android Oreo will be coming to the Essential Phone (in the next month or two). This is already lining up to be faster than other OEM’s (such as Samsung or LG), and will hopefully get the latest version of Android in our hands on this gorgeous device.

Where are the Click Connector Accessories?

What other snap-on attachments can we expect to see?

We are under development on a number of Click Connector accessories. The first available should be the charging dock. We are also actively developing a high end audio accessory to support a 3.5mm jack. We are continuing to look at supporting ideas, like cameras. -Joe

Yeah, our head of architecture is in Asia right now getting our high-end audio accessory super dialed. He graciously called me at 3AM today so we could talk about some specifics for our design… We are working literally around the clock around the globe to get your awesome new things ready. – Dave

Moving onto the weird connector found on the rear of the Essential Phone, /u/ginjaninja405 asks about what other attachments are in the works for upcoming release. Joe and Dave from Essential states that the company is currently focused on the charging dock which should launch first, along with a “high end audio accessory” for a 3.5mm headphone jack.

This one is rather exciting considering the fact that the 3.5mm headphone jack has been notably removed from the Essential Phone, so it will be interesting to see if we are bound for the dongle life. There’s also a possibility that we could see some type of new connector taking advantage of the magnetic pins found on the rear of the device. Although the jury is still out whether that would be worth purchasing, at least it is expected to be “high-end audio”.

Why isn’t the headphone jack essential?

Why remove the headphone jack? Some people consider it ‘essential’, what’s your team take on that?

Headphone jacks are pretty big components and they don’t play nice with all-screen Phone architectures. We studied it very seriously, but fitting a headphone jack into our Phone required tradeoffs we were uncomfortable with. We’d have grow a huge “chin” in the display and reduce the battery capacity by 10%, or we’d need a huge headphone bump! We decided it was more important to have a beautiful full-screen display in a thin device with solid battery life. Then we made sure we to build ya’ll a high-quality DAC in a tiny adapter that can elegantly live on your headphones. – Dave

As we mentioned above, the Essential Phone is lacking in the 3.5mm headphone jack department, as the company opted to leave it out for what seems to be no reason. However, Dave from Essential has answered that burning question, stating that a headphone jack would have compromised their vision for the design, and wouldn’t have resulted in the device that has been released. For better or worse, Dave claims that a high-quality DAC will be arriving in a “tiny adapter” which can be attached to your headphones.

When is Verizon certification coming?

Any idea when this device will get fully certified with Verizon?

We have been in the certification process with Verizon and are at the tail end. Could come as soon as tomorrow! These certifications really help enhance our overall quality, so your patience will pay off! – andyR

When the Essential Phone was announced, the company confirmed that the device would be compatible with all major carriers, including CDMA options such as Sprint and Verizon. Since the announcement, we have seen the Essential Phone launch in Sprint stores, but Verizon customers are left hanging in the wind for now, as the phone is still not certified for use on Big Red’s networks.

As Rubin states, there’s a chance that some type of formal announcement regarding certification could be made as soon as tomorrow (9/15), so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.

Where’s the Pure White version?


When can we expect white?

White is coming! Pure White ceramic is in build trials now. We’re looking at a few weeks until they’re in boxes and shipping, especially as we fill the manufacturing backlog on Moon Black. – Dave

While you have seen many videos and pictures of the Essential Phone, almost none of them have been of the Pure White build that was announced at launch. This has turned into a unicorn idea and disappointed folks who don’t want the all-black design being currently offered in stores and online. Luckily, Dave from Essential was there to save the day again and states that the Pure White edition is only “a few weeks” from shipping, while the company also works on keeping up with demand for the Moon Black version.

That’s a wrap

The Reddit AMA lasted about an hour, and covered a lot of different questions. If you want to see more questions answered from the team at Essential, hit the link here to check out the full Reddit thread. If you have any other questions about the Essential Phone or Essential in general, feel free to sound off in the comments below.


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