The Essential Phone, a product from the “father of Android” Andy Rubin, is possibly the most polarizing device of 2017. Its launch was marred by multiple delays and lousy communication, and the camera and software performance were initially lacking. That said, you’ve got to give the company credit for pushing out a consistent stream of software updates, which solved most of the software issues and kept security up to date. And even with the strange, abrupt departure and quick return of Andy Rubin, allegedly due to a harassment issue during his time at Google, Essential continues with its impressive update streak. On top of that, the company takes to Reddit every two weeks to engage with fans and answer questions. The latest news from these AMAs is that tap-to-wake, improved electronic image stabilization (EIS) and Project Treble support are all coming to the Essential Phone.
Rebecca (VP of Software), Sean (Quality Engineer) and Marcus (Software Program Manager) were on hand to answer questions and provide additional information. A big question this time around involved a problem with the screen stuttering while scrolling. Marcus claimed that the company has been working on the problem, but the screen’s 60hz sample rate and touch panel were creating challenges for the team. They’re being careful not to introduce new touch response and other issues as they work on a fix.
Another question focused on electronic image stabilization (EIS) and Marcus said that those improvements were on the roadmap. Unfortunately, no ETA was given. Talking about Project Treble, which promises to make software updates quicker and easier for Android devices, the team said that they’re working on passing the Google Compatibility Test Suite, a requirement for Project Treble certification. It should be ready to go in their Android 8.1 Oreo update, which is “getting pretty close.” Their second beta for Android 8.0 Oreo is scheduled to arrive next week.
A final question was asked about a double tap-to-wake feature. Marcus said it’s being worked on, but that it’s also not a current priority. He promised to keep everyone updated. The entire AMA thread on Reddit is available here if you’d like to see all of Essential’s answers.