Essential PH-1

A spokesperson for Essential Products today confirmed to XDA Developers that the company’s next device is now in “early testing.” The news comes three months after CEO and Android co-founder Andy Rubin teased a new product.

The company hasn’t yet revealed what the device will entail but information uncovered by XDA suggests it may not be the second-generation smartphone everyone has been waiting for. That’s because it defaults to a 90/270º rotation which is typically associated with tablets – smartphones almost always default to a 0º rotation. 

While this is far from confirmation Essential’s next product will be a tablet, other bits of info do seem more reliable. The new device seems to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 and Android 10. References to a total of five cameras including a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586, a 20-megapixel Sony IMX 476, a 16-megapixel Sony IMX519, a 13-megapixel Sony IMX 258, and a 5-megapixel Samsung S5K5E9 were also spotted.

Essential has rather unsurprisingly maintained a close relationship with Google since it was founded but it did appear to be testing a version of Android without any Google apps or services. There’s no guarantee the final product will ship without them, but it’s still a pretty interesting detail that’s worth pointing out.

The last finding by XDA involved a feature called “Fingerprint Walkie-Talkie.” This function’s exact use case hasn’t been confirmed but it may allow users to continuously talk to an on-board virtual assistant while the fingerprint scanner is being pressed. But whether this is the Google Assistant or a custom alternative remains to be seen. Considering Essential’s next product is still in the early phases of testing, an announcement is unlikely to take place anytime soon. Instead, the company will most likely unveil it during the first half of 2020 before a release in either Q2 or Q3.