Android version 9, titled Pie, is out today, and along with Google's own Pixel lineup, one of the first devices to get the official and final version of the newest Android release is the Essential PH-1. Android godfather Andy Rubin created Essential with a few goals in mind, including innovation and timely updates, so it seems quite natural, especially given his relationship to the platform, that the phone he helped create would be one of the first in line for the new update. Essential took to Twitter to announce the news, and the update is rolling out right now. If you have a factory unlocked Essential Phone at hand, try pulling an update; it should reach you by the end of the day. The post did not specify when carrier models would be getting the patch.
Android 9 Pie brings a number of new features to the table, and improves on some older features. Adaptive Brightness, for example, improves on Android's old automatic brightness setting by using machine learning to figure out how the brightness should be at the moment according to both ambient light and the content being viewed, among other factors, and learns over time what a user's specific preferences may be for different situations. Adaptive Battery, meanwhile, uses the same technologies, taking advantage of onboard machine learning in compatible devices, to dynamically control processor speed and voltage, networking and other factors to help maximize battery life, all while figuring out each person's use cases for their phone and making sure not to cramp them.
As with any update, you can check for it and pull it over the air by heading to your phone's Settings section and looking for the About phone heading. If checking doesn't do it for you immediately, keep in mind that the update is still fresh and is rolling out as fast as Essential can accommodate its groups of users. It may pull for you later in the day. If you have a carrier-branded model or you're just sick of waiting, you can always head to Essential's website and grab the build to sideload via ADB. As of this writing, however, the Pie build is not up on the site just yet.