The Essential Phone turned a few heads when it arrived in mid-2017 but was short-lived. The company behind it, founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, ceased operations last year. However, some members of the team regrouped to form a new company called OSOM. They are now working on their first product, an Android smartphone called OSOM OV1. The company’s CEO and founder, Jason Keats, recently shared some information about the upcoming device. Keats also offered up the first look at the new phone.
OSOM OV1 is a throwback to the Essential PH-1
OSOM’s first product is a throwback to the Essential PH-1 and hence the name OSOM OV1 (vault 1). Though not a sequel, the new device is designed to “evoke a feeling of continuity,” Keats has revealed. But the similarities may not end with the name. The OSOM OV1’s design efforts are being looked after by the same person who led the design team at Essential. It will reportedly have more throwback to the original device. The new phone won’t keep Essential PH-1’s modular system though.
Speaking of design, we can see the OSOM OV1 features a triangular camera module at the back, with two cameras and an LED flash. There’s also a capacitive fingerprint scanner. The device has its power and volume keys on the right. And unlike most other devices, the OSOM branding is towards the top rather than the bottom. The device will reportedly run on a Qualcomm chipset.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any other information regarding the new phone’s specifications and features, neither do we know anything about its front design. We expect it to sport a centered punch-hole display with minimal bezels. OSOM plans to share more details about the OSOM OV1 at MWC 2022 in February. The company is targeting a summer 2022 release for the phone.
It is a privacy-focused Android smartphone
The Android smartphone market is pretty crowded and it’s quite difficult for newcomers to attract buyers. Perhaps that’s why Essential had to pack it up within a few years. But OSOM is looking to carve a chunk of the market for itself with its privacy-first approach. The name stands for “out of sight, out of mind,” stressing that privacy is its primary goal. The acronym OSOM is also somewhat homophonic with “awesome.”
Keats says the new company will try to avoid the mistakes Essential made. “One of the things that hurt Essential was, it wasn’t entirely clear what the point of Essential was, what we were building for, and that hurt us,” he said. “That was probably the biggest thing that prevented us from being successful.”
Though the OSOM OV1 will run stock Android at its core, the company plans to accomplish its goals with three key pillars: privacy, simplicity, and choice. It will implement this approach across hardware, software, and marketing. The firm reportedly already has three separate pieces of software in development, though Keats isn’t sharing many details about those.
What he revealed though is that OSOM’s version of Android will offer better customization and privacy controls to users. Compared to stock Android, it will be “100-fold more powerful” at letting users what apps are doing and what information they have access to.
Though making software is harder than making hardware, Keats claims OSOM will give as much importance to hardware. “We’re still gonna build a great flagship-grade Android phone that people who like Android will wanna buy,” he said. The company is “spending a lot of time and money” on making sure features like camera and app “are up to snuff at launch.”
As said before, OSOM plans to unveil the OSOM OV1 in the summer of 2022. It will be available in the US, Canada, and a handful of countries in Europe at launch. In the US, the company doesn’t plan to sign up partnerships with carriers. Time will tell whether the phone manages to survive or it will be a repeat of the Essential PH-1.