Update [February 15, 2018]: A couple of weeks ago, Essential announced that the PH-1 phone OS upgrade will skip directly to Android 8.1 Oreo and true to its words, the company has opened the beta program for this version.
The Essential Phone had been testing Android 8.0 beta since last year but the company said “several stability issues” forced them to skip to the newer 8.1 as a way to mitigate these issues. Hence the now rolling out Android 8.1 Oreo beta.
The update weighs about 500MB and installs software version OPM1.180104.010. According to the changelog, it brings this month’s Android security patch, dynamic calendar and clock icons as well as several other bug fixes. The update is rolling out over the air, but it should also be added to the company’s developer site.
We just started rolling out Oreo Beta 8.1 through OTA. This update includes February security patches, dynamic calendar and clock icons, a slow-scrolling jitter fix (beta), and more. 😍 #EssentialPhone
— Essential (@essential) February 14, 2018
Update [November 15, 2017]: Essential has started rolling out beta Oreo update for their first and only phone, codenamed PH-1. Note that this is a beta version of their Android 8.0 build, hence it’s not available for all users. It’s limited to those who applied for beta and were selected under the program, and these users should see the 8.0 update notification hit their devices anytime now. But, if you aren’t eligible for beta, there is still hope for you: The Essential Phone Oreo update is available for download, too. Which means that even if you are not subscribed in beta program, you can still download the Oreo OTA, and install it all by yourself using a Windows PC. Cool, right?
We know you may be anticipating when Oreo update hits the Essential Phone, for variety of reasons. One of them could be the phone sporting stock UI with little to no customization by the Essential, which should easily translate into way faster Android 8.0 release compared to other OEMs.
That, though, is not happening today, at least. Essential has released a new update for its Phone, coming in as software version NMJ03B. It’s still Android 7.1.1, yes.
The official changelog tells us that the update fixes bugs, improves performance and involves some framework changes too, but it’s actually all about updating camera app to version 0.1.073, from 0.1.069 which is the latest version in Play Store right now.
Read: LG Oreo update
Why Essential chose to not bring v0.1.073 as a Play Store update is beyond us, but looking at the changelog of this new version, we are more than happy to have it that how we have it.
With new Camera app version 0.1.073, the low light photography from Essential Phone should receive a boost, the image quality should be better now. While, with the dedicated module attached, you can simply hit the Power button twice to start recording 360-degree video.
And there’s more. The new Camera app removes the shutter lag with one-off captures, while also improving on overall image quality, besides bringing in various stability fixes.
Essential Phone Oreo update
As said above, the Android 8.0 beta is now rolling out for the Essential Phone users who had subscribed under the Oreo beta program by the company. In case you missed out, you can still download the Oreo update beta, and install it manually.
What about stable Android 8.0 Oreo release?
Well, normally, once a beta build is released of a major upcoming Android OS update by an OEM, it takes them about a month to collect feedback from the users who install the beta build, fix them issues and bugs, and then roll out a stable version of the update.
In case of Essential Phone Oreo too, we think they would take at least a month for this. And our experience from OnePlus 3 and 3T Oreo, plus that of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Oreo, vindicates this. It took OnePlus one month approx after rolling out beta to come up with Oreo for its 3/3T, while Samsung is yet to come up with stable version of Oreo even though it’s well been one month since their first Oreo beta, which was marred by software bugs. Samsung’s Oreo beta is under 3rd version at the moment.