Essential PH-1

One highly publicized aspect of Android Pie was the full support of GUI around display notches — what smartphone makers wanted to do with that space in the “ears” was purely up to them and toolkits would make it easier to handle.

The pioneer of notches in the Android space has been Essential. The Essential Phone’s diminutive selfie camera notch allowed for apps to show icons in the notification bar, but the company also had settings to allow the ears to blend in or stand out in appearance. These settings were available with Android Oreo, but our colleagues at XDA-Developers report that they were dropped with Android Pie. Why would this be the case?

Well, it seemed as though the software team was sort of hot and cold on the topic internally until the Essential subreddit started knocking. One team member said during a monthly Ask Me Anything thread:

We have discussed this internally and now that P has launched, it is very apparent from our community that you guys want this back in. It will take a bit of work since it is not a 1:1 code transfer from 8.1 to 9.0 given google changed the notch logic so a portion of the code will have to be re-written. But for time frame on implementation it will likely not be in the next security release given it will all need to be re-tested for stability. Thanks for pushing though…. We literally quote these comments when in roadmap planning meetings when we discuss notch settings..

/u/userrrrrrrrrrrr replied that it was “really encouraging to have a company listen to its users so deliberately!”

Essential has been deliberate in forging ahead on the PH-1’s upgrade path. It balked on the original Android Oreo update after presumably encountering a lot of the same nasty bugs that stopped other OEMs from pushing their OTAs out. The phone eventually got Android 8.1.




Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.

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