The Essential PH-1 will receive two years of Android updates and three years of security patches, the company’s founder Andy Rubin revealed on Thursday. Mr. Rubin — who also co-created and maintained Android until 2014 —promised that the Palo Alto, California-based startup will be launching new accessories for the Essential PH-1 “every few months,” though he didn’t elaborate on how long is the firm planning to keep up with that release schedule. The Essential 360 Camera is the first accessory for the device that was unveiled alongside the PH-1 in May and was designed to snap onto the magnetic pins located on the back of the phone, with Mr. Rubin’s previous statements indicating that the company is looking to create an entire ecosystem around its first commercially available offering.
The promise of two years of major software updates and three years of security patches is identical to the one given by major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Samsung and LG, meaning that future owners of the Essential PH-1 can expect to receive Android O and Android P, though it’s currently unclear how quickly will their devices be updated. Likewise, while the phone should be receiving Google’s security patches fairly regularly, it remains to be seen whether the company will be able to keep it updated on a monthly basis. While the Essential PH-1 will hence have a software support lifecycle that’s comparable to that of other Android flagships, its creators remain adamant that the device won’t be obsolete after a year like many of its alternatives supposedly will be. Essential’s claims of a “future-proof” design are backed by the phone’s modularity and the fact that it ships with a clean version of Android with no bloatware, as well as the fact that its accessories will also be compatible with the Essential Home speaker and other devices that the firm is planning to release in the future.
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The Essential PH-1 became available for pre-orders from Sprint earlier today, with the wireless carrier currently offering a $260 discount on the handset. While Sprint has yet to provide a specific release window for the device, consumers who placed advanced orders on the PH-1 directly with Essential will start receiving their units next week.