Essentially has now officially announced an over-the-air update for its Essential Phone PH-1 to deliver the latest security patches alongside Google's own Pixel devices. Spotted on Twitter by PhoneDog, the announcement is somewhat slim on the details but Google's security blog does give some indication as to what kind of improvements should be expected.
According to Google, the October 2019 Android security patch updates dozens of vulnerabilities and bugs across a wide range of components. Many of those are considered critical and include changes that prevent a number of information leaks, among other things.
The update also patches a zero-day security flaw that may or may not be affecting Essential devices. The phone launched more than two years ago and wasn't included in widespread reports about the flaw. That the Essential PH-1 was excluded could easily come down to how old the phone is or because it simply isn't affected. So users will want to install the update as soon as possible.
To get the update manually, the steps are fairly straightforward. Users should navigate to their apps and open up Settings. Scrolling down to tap the "System" subheading will open up the appropriate section. From there, tapping on the "Advanced" collapsible menu and then scrolling down to "System update" loads up the page containing the button for checking whether an update is available.
Continuing a long-time Essential update trend
The fact that Essential continues to update its phone alongside Google's Pixel devices should come as no surprise. Essential has been doing that since launching the gadget way back in August of 2017. And that isn't just security patches. The company pushed out the update to Android 9 Pie and Android 10 alongside Google too.
Updates have been a key part of the strategy since Android co-founder Andy Rubin first revealed the device. The Essential PH-1 isn't part of Google's Android One program or any other initiative to keep the firmware as close to stock as possible. But it's well known that a considerable subset of users actively picks out their smartphones based on update cycles. So PH-1 is as close to stock as possible without closing the door on extra features entirely.
Given how poorly the device reviewed when it was initially launched — mostly due to camera issues — those updates have proven to be a saving grace for Essential. Those have subsequently fixed a number of the issues, resulting in a much more well-rounded device.
Continuing to release updates to security not only provides an opportunity to deliver new features. It also serves to help the company prove it has learned from its mistakes and will consistently deliver improvements.
But what about Essential Phone 2?
Essential has revealed that a successor to the Essential PH-1 may be on the way. That's according to Andy Rubin, who said back in June that fans of the brand should "Hang tight" on an announcement.
In the interim, plenty of leaks have cropped up in addition to some unofficial concept renders. Among the biggest expected features, Essential will allegedly put its front camera under the display. That would render the camera invisible except when it's in use — with pixels being deactivated during use.
That device is rumored to be close to complete but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. The company no longer makes or sells the Essential PH-1. But continuing update releases should help it keep its reputation for quick updates until the next device is ready.
October's security update for Android 10 is now available OTA (Open Market). Check your Essential Phone! pic.twitter.com/kKOziuFePUAdvertisement
— Essential (@essential) October 7, 2019