What you need to know
- The team behind the Essential Phone teases a new smartphone.
- The device features a dual-camera setup, rear fingerprint sensor, and is powered by a Qualcomm chip.
- The software will be very privacy-focused with a near-stock Android experience.
Essential may not be around anymore, but its mission still lives on thanks to OSOM Products. The team that helped bring the Essential Phone (PH-1) to life has just teased its first smartphone offering with a big focus on privacy.
The company provided Android Police with an exclusive first-look at its upcoming device, the OV1. While not a direct successor to the Essential PH-1, the OV1, or "OSOM Vault 1," is something of a spiritual successor. In fact, it manages to retain the rear fingerprint sensor (which we don't see much of these days in higher-end phones) and dual camera setup.
According to OSOM Products founder Jason Keats, the OSOM OV1's name also harkens back to the Essential PH-1, and the similarities extend to the software as well, which will provide a near-stock Android experience. However, there will be a deep focus on privacy.
Lamenting the death of the Essential, Keats said its problem was the lack of clear direction. "And so we sat down and said, 'What is something we can address?' And we said, 'Well, I'm really annoyed at how much my phone and other companies know what I'm doing.'"
From this, the company has honed in on three areas that it will focus on across its products: privacy, simplicity, and choice. With this in mind, OSOM has teased that it's working on three new pieces of software but isn't ready to talk about them. Nonetheless, the phone is said to have privacy indicators "100-fold more powerful" than what's currently available on Android.
In fact, we don't know much about the new phone aside from the fact that a Qualcomm chip powers it. It will, however, be a "flagship-grade Android phone that people who like Android will wanna buy." According to Keats, it could launch as early as MWC 2022, which of course, would depend on testing. The phone is apparently close to final, and particular attention is being put on the camera experience to avoid the woes of the Essential Phone.
That said, with a clear approach to development, OSOM has the opportunity to succeed where Essential Phone ultimately failed by addressing a pain point in a market that yearns for greater privacy from the best Android phones. That's something Google is trying to address with Android 12, but OSOM thinks it can take things further.
When it eventually launches, we expect it to arrive in the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe.
Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
I'd like to believe in this but Essential was a huge let down. HMD Global was a huge let down. OnePlus is still relevant but is about to lose its rise in the US market. I'm not sure what they will be able to accomplish with privacy that doesn't cause more inconvenience to the expected behavior of apps. And if they do have a new software like a browser or password manager, then they might as well make it available to everyone. They have a lot to prove for both hardware and software, so yeah I'm hopeful but incredibly skeptical.
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