Andy Rubin answers burning Essential Phone questions: updates, jacks, expansions and more

Tech enthusiasts love transparent companies and outspoken CEOs who don’t shy away from controversies and uncomfortable questions, personally apologizing when needed and occasionally listening to customer feedback.

Judging by the interest of Reddit users for yesterday’s Andy Rubin-coordinated Essential AMA session, the American startup’s oft-delayed first phone may still have a chance at mainstream success.

Especially if the bug-fixing and performance-improving “minor” software updates keep on coming, as promised repeatedly, aiming to bring among others the camera experience in line with hefty expectations.

As far as major UI promotions are concerned, Android 8.0 Oreo is already only two months or so away, and an open beta program is “on the list” of things under consideration. Custom, unofficial ROMs are definitely coming for your side-loading pleasure, with kernel source code and factory images set to be released “in the next few days.”

Meanwhile, a European expansion of the so far North American-exclusive Essential Phone is viewed as a top priority by the company’s skipper, with Verizon certification a matter of days now over in the US.

Once the “manufacturing backlog” of the Moon Black flavor is cleared, the Pure White version will finally see daylight stateside, hopefully in time for the holiday season.

With no headphone jack in tow due to design constraints, it’s good to hear at least a “high end audio accessory” is in the works, magnetically adding 3.5mm connectivity for your wired headphones.

Last but not least, if you’re still excited about that eventual Amazon Echo-challenging Essential Home device, Rubin encouragingly claims “development is going well.” There will be “something to show soon”, but the details aren’t laid out yet.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).