In a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Essential revealed some of the features and fixes the OEM is working on to improve its first mobile device, the Essential PH-1. Along with various upcoming features, the company also confirmed that the Android Oreo Beta 2 build is now expected to drop next week, starting December 18th, and current Beta 1 participants will be able to apply the new firmware over the air.
One of the most exciting under-the-hood changes for the Essential PH-1 following the upcoming Android 8.1 Oreo update is full support for Google's Project Treble. Treble was introduced earlier this year at Google I/O and what it does is separate the code written by chipset manufacturers from the base Android framework. The change allows OEMs to develop much faster updates without needing any input from chipset suppliers, so in theory, PH-1 owners should eventually be able and enjoy new features and fixes arriving at an accelerated rate. The OEM also revealed that it is working on collecting logs to help fix an issue related with Miracast/screencast not functioning correctly on the current Oreo beta build. Additionally, Essential confirmed it will introduce the double-tap to wake/sleep functionality, though it doesn’t have an ETA at the moment, and is working on implementing immersive mode for video playback as well as electronic image stabilization. Redditors have also asked whether the OEM is aware of a specific issue with the earpiece producing an unwanted echo when conducting phone calls and the company has acknowledged the problem, adding that it is already devising a fix. Other minor issues like the minimum media volume being too loud or the camera viewfinder lagging when switching focus in portrait mode should also be ironed out with upcoming updates.
The Essential PH-1 was released in September for the price $699, though the device didn’t enjoy the success the startup was hoping for, with analysts estimating that the company only managed to sell around 5,000 units in the first month of the phone's availability. Reviews of the device were mixed due to various issues and the relatively high price tag but the PH-1 was permanently discounted by $200 less than two months after its releases and sales now reportedly reached 50,000, though no numbers have been officially disclosed by the firm.