The Essential Phone — PH-1 — debuted back in 2017 with the promise of premium hardware and clean software. Quickly, though, that vision started to fail as initial reviews were negative and prices were slashed as a result. Now, as the company shuts down, the Essential Phone is getting an abrupt end to software updates.
Instead of pushing updates forward for a few more months, Essential Phone software updates end now. The February 3rd security patch that rolled out earlier this month will be the last update the PH-1 will ever get, cutting off the possibility of official updates to Android 11 or further security patches.
The open nature of the PH-1 likely means that unofficial software updates will likely continue, but the timely software updates that we’ve seen from the company time and time again are done. To help with that, Essential is making its vendor image and “everything else” needed to keep the PH-1 going available on Github.
As part of the company wind down, the security update for PH-1 released on February 3 is the last update from the Essential software team. Your PH-1 will continue to work but we will not be providing any additional updates or customer support. Current Newton Mail users will have access to the service through April 30, 2020. For developer fans, a prebuilt of our vendor image and everything else needed to keep hacking on PH-1 will be hosted on our github.
The Essential Phone may not have been loved by all, but it’s a phone I’ll hold in my collection for a long time. It’s also an example for everyone else in the Android space for how long and how quickly software updates on Android should be handled.
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