We talked about the Galaxy Nexus on its 10-year anniversary last week and how it’s one of those phones that sticks out in my mind as one of the most important to Android’s history, even if it was a terrible phone. Another phone that I’d put in that category, mostly because it was a camera away from being incredible, was the Essential Phone. We never did get a follow-up, but the crew who made it (sans Andy Rubin), a company called OSOM, are about to give us something close to it.
The Essential Phone (or PH-1) is one of those devices that was ahead of its time in design, felt as premium as Apple’s best phones, and ran the software we enjoyed with an update speed that not even Google could match. It’s camera was absolutely the worst of the worst, it struggled with network connections, and the display was put on upside-down or something, causing it to have never-ending touch issues, but if you look outside of those flaws, I’m still not sure you’ll find a sexier phone, even today.
Of course, Essential died because Andy Rubin. We never got the Essential Phone 2 or those weird GEM phones, but OSOM has teased their first phone and I’m sure you’ll find that it looks familiar.
OSOM sat down for a brief chat with Android Police and sent them this one image of the back of the device. Look at that thing – how can you not feel the Essential phone vibes from it? It’s so hot.
While not a finished product that you can buy, this could be pretty close to what they’ll offer next year. And yes, the first OSOM phone, dubbed OSOM OV1 (for now), will be fully revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in early 2022 and then arrive next summer. Once it does, we know it’ll have a couple of cameras on the back, a rear fingerprint reader, a Qualcomm chip inside, a clean Android experience, and a lot of privacy-focused stuff going on. The plan is to sell it unlocked without carrier partners in the US (plus Canada and some European countries).
Is this – a privacy-forward phone – something a lot of people will want to buy? That doesn’t sound interesting enough to get the attention of many, but OSOM CEO Jason Keats seems to believe there are enough and that his company doesn’t need to sell 90 million of these phones to be successful. So that’s good, I just hope they don’t get so caught up in the privacy angle that the camera is dogsh*t, performance and display responsiveness are bad, and the phone can’t hold a cell signal (Keats says it should be fine and that was an Essential problem because of Rubin).
Also, if the word crypto is mentioned anywhere near this “privacy” phone, we’re never talking about it again.
Anyways, the follow-up to the Essential Phone is coming next year! That’s actually pretty exciting.