The Essential Phone has been creating quite the stir the last few weeks and it isn’t because it is the idea of Android’s original creator. It is actually for all the wrong reasons. Essential has delayed the phone by nearly two months and it doesn’t stop there. They company has also stated that devices have started shipping, but this has yet to be confirmed from buyers.
This is definitely not an ideal start for the billion dollar start-up, but things happen. I was very close to pre-ordering the device, but now I am glad I waited. The PH-1 still interests me, but I am more concerned with how Essential will handle software updates, not their distribution. One would assume that after this blunder, the company will straighten out their distribution troubles. Once that is done, the public attention will shift focus to the software.
The Essential Phone runs stock Android, which is very rare these days. The only Essential customization of the software is their in-house camera app. This should mean that software updates from the company should be very timely. Now, I don’t expect Oreo to be released for their device in the coming weeks, but a month or two would be ideal. Compared to other companies, even within three months might be considered a win.
Software update consistency is key for the Essential Phone
A few years back when HTC announced the One A9, they promised software updates within 15 days of Nexus devices. We all know that didn’t happen and the community doesn’t forget. Essential hasn’t promised any schedule when it comes to updating to the newest version of Android, and I understand it. They should at least give us a ballpark estimate. What happened to the “under promise over deliver” saying?
I know things happen and sometimes don’t always go as planned, but three months is more than enough time for a device that runs stock Android. I know that Google has been working with Essential among other companies and that their devices will be upgraded to Oreo “by the end of this year”, but we haven’t heard anything from Andy Rubin and company.
Essential did state that their devices will receive software updates for two years and security patches for three years, similar to Google’s phones. That is something I appreciate, even though software support isn’t as long as I would like. It is stillbetter than how OnePlus handles their updates. If the PH-1 consistently gets software updates in a timely manor after major releases, I will call that a win for Essential.
It does suck that Essential has broken their promises on when their devices will ship, but at the end of the day, it’s how they will handle their software updates that will define the company. If the company consistently puts out software updates for their device, it will give them a huge leg up on the giants in the smartphone industry. It is hard to come by a company that thoroughly support their devices. Shipping woes can be forgiven, poor software updates cannot.