It’s been more than two years since Essential released its first smartphone, and so far the Essential PH-1 is the company’s only smartphone.

But that could change… eventually.

The folks at xda-developers have received confirmation that Essential is “working on a new device” that’s “now in early testing.” And by digging through some code, they’ve also found some likely details about the hardware.

Essential PH-1

Essential is an interesting company for a few reasons. First, it was founded by Andy Rubin, the co-founded of Android.

Second, no company other than Google has a better track record when it comes to releasing Android updates. The Essential PH-1 gets monthly security updates and major OS updates the same day they’re released by Google. In fact, my wife’s Essential PH-1 often receives OTA updates before they come to my Google Pixel 2.

But Essential is also a startup in a competitive space. The company stopped selling the Essential PH-1 in December and hasn’t offered a new product since.

But about a year ago Bloomberg reported that Essential was working on a new phone with unusual features. Then Andy Rubin indicated in June, 2019 that the company would “make an announcement” about new hardware at some point.

Now Essential has confirmed to xda-developers that new hardware is being tested… and the xda- portal has an article outlining some details gleaned from bits of code.

The phone appears to be code-named “gem,” and it will likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor and some or all of the following cameras:

  • 48MP Sony IMX586
  • 16MP Sony IMX519
  • 13MP Sony IMX258
  • 20MP Sony IMX476
  • 5MP Samsung S5K5E9

There’s also some sort of Fingerprint Walkie Talkie mode feature. It’s unclear what that is… but this is expected to be an unusual device. Xda-developers also notes that there are signs it may default to landscape orientation rater than portrait, which might be why the website is referring to the “gem” as a “mobile device” rather than a phone.


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5 replies on “Essential is still working on a new phone (new details leaked)”

  1. They had better hurry up. Most people replace their phones every 2 – 2.5 years. If there isn’t another Essential phone available, current users will have no choice but to look elsewhere.

  2. There’s no way they’re going to release a “better” phone with a slower processor.
    If it happens, then it confirms one thing: Google has a monopoly in the Android ecosystem. They don’t allow any other OEMs to have a flagship and stock android. It’s why HMD-Nokia always sticks to midrange, and their flagship models come out 6 months late with a 1 year old SoC and a high-price, making it uncompetitive in the market place.

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