Even though a May report suggested that Essential has canned its second-generation phone (an assertion the company didn't fully contradict), the first Essential Phone remains a cult favorite. In large part, that's because the company pushes out Android updates in near tandem with Google — and that was no exception with the September 2018 Android Pie update released today. Within minutes of it surfacing, Essential tweeted that customers could update to grab the bundle of patches, including Bluetooth audio and accessibility fixes, by simply heading to their settings and checking for the update.
We just released a software update that includes September Google Security Patches along with various audio and accessibility fixes. Check your Essential Phone now for the update. pic.twitter.com/ImzLEk9iSo
— Essential (@essential) September 4, 2018
Meanwhile, Pixel users have to decide whether to hold tight and wait for the update to arrive over the next few days, or install the OTA files or system image. Essential's effectively made updating a quicker and smoother process than on Google's own devices — an impressive feat. The hardware startup's quick pace doesn't reflect well on other Android manufacturers, some of which can barely commit to monthly updates or, even worse, lie about providing all the fixes. Thankfully, Google is working on building security patching into its OEM agreement.
The 81.4MB update brings devices to Android 9.0.0 - Build PPR1.180905.036. It includes a variety of security patches, Bluetooth car audio fixes and accessibility fixes. Notch settings for customizing how each app uses the status bar/notch area are still gone after the transfer from Android 8.1 to 9.0 (when Google changed things up by introducing new notch logic), but Essential told fans and developers in its August Reddit AMA that they're on the company's roadmap.