Video: Andy Rubin's Essential Phone: modular, tough, and no logo.
The Essential Phone, see our full review, was one of my favorites from 2017 and there is speculation we may not see version 2. It is possible Essential is focused on making the first model more appealing by focusin on accessories and experiences for the current device.
When Google released Android P to developers, the Essential Phone was one of 12 devices that users can use to download, install, and test the beta versions. Essential has been one of the fastest, after Google, at providing updates for its device over the past year so is still actively supporting its phone with Android 8.1 available to all customers.
Yesterday, MQA announced a partnership with Essential to deliver MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) studio quality sound to the Essential Phone. With the Essential Phone, customers can stream thousands of MQA titles via TIDAL. Existing and new Essential Phone owners are being offered a three-month free trial of TIDAL HiFi to test out this music experience.
When the Essential Phone launched, there was one one Click connect accessory, the 360 camera, with promises of more to come. With this MQA partnership announcement, we also learned that the Audio Adapter HD will be coming later this summer.
The Audio Adapter HD features a high resolution ESS Sabre DAC with hardware MQA rendering. It is a small adapter that snaps onto the back pins and provide a standard 3.5mm headset jack to the Essential Phone. Like the phone itself, this adapter is built out of titanium.
We will be testing out MQA through TIDAL and the Audio Adapter HD in the near future so stay tuned for these articles.
Previous and related coverage
Android co-founder Andy Rubin has launched Essential and a smartphone that aims to put design and craftsmanship first with simplicity. It's a tall order.
A new take on the modular phone with clip-on components, starting at $699.
The Essential Phone was a tough sell at $699, but at $499 it is compelling. It offers flagship specs with lots of potential, but there is some risk in a startup launching its first phone.
There is a lot of potential in the Essential Phone and it is honestly a fantastic piece of hardware with a stock Android experience. Sales must not be going well for such a drastic price drop so quickly though.