Deemed just “essentially okay” by Ryan shortly after its launch, when it was still selling for $700, the Essential Phone was essentially a must-buy earlier this week, at a discounted price of $250. Bargain hunters who are only starting to get accustomed to the divisive Andy Rubin-created device may want to know the company answers questions every month on Reddit.
The latest AMA session didn’t exactly include any earth-shattering news or game-changing revelations, and there’s still a good chance a PH-2 will never be released. But for what it's worth, the PH-1 should receive both Android P and Q updates. Obviously, it’s way too early to talk Android Q timelines, but as long as Google sticks to its typical schedule, Essential VP of Software Engineering Rebecca Zavin seems pretty certain it will happen.
Keep in mind that the Essential Phone came powered by Android 7.1 Nougat out the box, currently runs 8.1 Oreo after skipping the 8.0 build, and is also now a part of the official Android P beta program. That all means this handset could score a grand total of three major OS updates over lifetime, which very few mobile industry veterans are even willing to consider for their phones.
In terms of software updates to expect in the short term, the Essential Camera app will continue to receive frequent support for "top crashes, performance improvements, security fixes, and high impact bugs." Alas, no actual new features are planned for an "immediate release." After careful consideration, a manual camera mode was also scrapped in favor of those aforementioned stability enhancements, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it will never happen.
Apparently there are some issues with Bluetooth connectivity, as well, that the company is aware of and promising to fix... once a root cause is identified. As for the Audio Adapter HD mod (with a built-in headphone jack and high-res DAC), all Essential can say is "we are getting close" to a commercial rollout. That's... vague!