Essential Phone gains portrait mode, 2nd gen model in the works, and more

Every other Wednesday, the Essential team takes to Reddit to hold an AMA to answer any and all burning questions that people have about the company and its products. The most recent one was held on November 29, and as per usual, there's a lot to talk about.

For starters, Essential confirmed that a portrait mode is now available for its phone as an update for the camera app through the Play Store. In addition to this highly-requested feature, the update also includes better compression of JPEG shots and other general bug fixes and stability tweaks.

Speaking of software, an update to the existing 8.0 Oreo beta should be rolling out next week with improvements to Bluetooth performance, battery, and touch latency/choppy scrolling through the UI. Android 8.1 is also in the works, but Essential says it'll likely just push this out as a regular update without first running it through a beta.

Moving on to the hardware side of things –

  • The Stellar Gray version of the Essential Phone should be available at some point before 2017 is over, but there's still no ETA for the Ocean Depth variant
  • Essential is still working on the charging dock accessory, and along with sharing a couple hands-on photos of it, the company says that the final build was recently completed and that the price will be under $100
  • When talking about reparability concerns that popped up for the Essential Phone, we got confirmation that a 2nd gen version of the device is in the works ("We are focusing on reparability for the next generation phone)

Photos of the Essential Phone's charging dock.

Lastly, while Essential didn't exactly address the recent allegations against Founder and CEO Andy Rubin, it did confirm that support for the existing PH-1 would continue on as per usual –

We absolutely will be continuing to support the PH-1 device including security patches, more camera features and additional worldwide carrier support throughout the lifecycle of the PH-1 device. We still have plenty of work, continued release milestones on the roadmap, and new features we want to deliver from the great feedback we get in these AMAs. We are looking forward to supporting you guys for a long time.

Those are the biggest highlights from this last AMA, but if you want to read the full thing for yourself, you can check it out here.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.