Tech

The Essential Phone will get a clip-on headphone jack

A headphone jack might not have been essential enough to be part of the Essential Phone itself, but the company has confirmed it’s working on a module that includes one. “We are actively developing a high end audio accessory to support a 3.5mm jack,” the Essential team said during a Reddit AMA today.

Aside from the 360-degree camera, customers can next expect the charging dock to be released before future modules including the high-end audio device. In a follow-up remark, another Essential employee said ”our head of architecture is in Asia right now getting our high-end audio accessory super dialed. He graciously called me at 3AM today so we could talk about some specifics for our design.”


The upcoming Essential Phone docking station.

“We are working literally around the clock around the globe to get your awesome new things ready,” the team said. Essential also gave a fairly thorough explanation for the omission of the 3.5mm jack in the PH-1:

Headphone jacks are pretty big components and they don’t play nice with all-screen Phone architectures. We studied it very seriously, but fitting a headphone jack into our Phone required tradeoffs we were uncomfortable with. We’d have grow a huge “chin” in the display and reduce the battery capacity by 10%, or we’d need a huge headphone bump! We decided it was more important to have a beautiful full-screen display in a thin device with solid battery life.

Essential also replied to other pressing questions during the AMA, and I’ve collected the important answers below.

Android O

During the AMA, the Essential team said that Essential Phone owners can expect to receive an update to Android 8.0 Oreo within two months.

Camera improvements

Addressing the leading complaint about their debut product, Andy Rubin himself said that his team will continue working to improve both performance and quality of images that the camera takes. “We are pretty happy with the hardware design of the camera,” he said. “We are using computational photography to fuse a monochrome and color sensors. That’s the part we’re not too happy about, but luckily it’s software and we’ve already done a number of updates to the app to fix bug and add features.”

The camera’s output is still far from where it needs to be, and the camera app itself would also be well-served with the additional of a pro/manual mode.

Where’s the white one?

The white ceramic Essential Phone is far less likely to show smudges and fingerprints to the same degree as the shipping black model. “White is coming,” an Essential employee confirmed. “Pure White ceramic is in build trials now. We’re looking at a few weeks until they’re in boxes and shipping, especially as we fill the manufacturing backlog on Moon Black.”


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