GeekWire Podcast: Why this early Essential Phone customer is giving adult on Andy Rubin’s dream device

The Essential Phone, a product of Android creator Andy Rubin’s new startup, is promoted as a premium, stripped-down smartphone. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

In a smartphone marketplace dominated by dual giant, multinational corporations, Apple and Samsung, it’s sparkling to see a new name in a mix.

That’s one reason a Essential Phone got so many hype when it was announced in May. It’s a initial vital recover from Essential, a startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, earnest a reward smartphone knowledge though a nonessential bells and whistles of a competitors.

The phones have now shipped, and one recently landed during a doorway of Seattle businessman Aaron Bird, a owner and CEO of Bizible, a longtime Android user who was vehement to buy a Essential phone.

Bird favourite utterly a few things about a phone. But in a end, a phone’s stripped-down offered indicate incited out to be a dealbreaker. Bird is now regulating a new Galaxy S8 Plus, while he waits for his Essential Phone to sell on eBay. We speak with him about what happened on this part of a GeekWire Podcast.

Bird pronounced one of a large attractions of a Essential Phone was a software — a phone runs batch Android, a bare-bones chronicle of Google’s Android OS, and doesn’t come with any combined apps, services, or features.

“I suspicion batch Android is what we wanted, given we don’t wish things like (Samsung’s assistant) Bixby or all a games that we see — a lot of things that comes both from a conduit and a manufacturer,” Bird said. But in a end, he detected there’s a lot of value in what Samsung, in particular, provides on tip of Android.

The biggest deal-breaker for Bird was a phone’s camera. Even nonetheless it has considerable hardware, a camera was a nightmare. “The camera is really, unequivocally bad,” he said. “It reminds me of a smartphone 5 years ago.”

Aaron Bird, CEO of Bizible, wasn’t tender with his Essential Phone’s camera. This design was taken with a phone, that he found struggles in low-light. See a full-resolution chronicle here. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

When he took a design of his immature child on a Essential phone and sent it to his wife, she told him he indispensable to embankment a phone. Another large emanate was a phone’s presentation system, that he pronounced was many reduction effective than a one he was accustomed to on Samsung phones.

Both a camera app and a presentation setup are facilities that phone makers, such as Samsung or HTC, build on tip of a batch Android that a Essential Phone uses.

On a other hand, Bird said, a Essential Phone hardware is overwhelming and even exceeds what we see on a arriving iPhone X in many ways, notwithstanding a fact that a Essential Phone costs $300 reduction than a iPhone X.

Listen to a full review with Bird above or download it as an MP3, and keep reading for edited highlights from his comments on a pros and cons in a phone.

The hardware: The hardware is amazing, that is a irony of a whole thing — that Andy Rubin, a creator of a program Android, built overwhelming hardware, though a reason I’m removing absolved of it is given of a software. It’s an edge-to-edge screen. … It’s amazing, actually, that this is a initial chronicle of a hardware built by a startup that usually started. That’s usually unequivocally tough to spike in V1, and they did. we review about a hardware, that is one of a reasons we systematic it, though we was unequivocally astounded during how good they nailed that.

The camera: The camera is really, unequivocally bad. A lot of people don’t know this, though a camera app on phones is built by a manufacturer. So Samsung builds their camera app. The camera’s where a lot of them differentiate, and they’ve spent a prolonged time building out good camera apps. That is indeed a core of a camera.

I review online some reviews that got early access, they pronounced a Essential camera was bad, though there were a lot of bugs, too, and a things was removing fixed. we figured, ‘I’m certain they’re going to recover a updated camera app,’ though it’s unequivocally bad. we mean, it reminds me of a smartphone 5 years ago. It needs lots of light — and, ironically, it indeed has dual cameras, one of that is monochrome. That is ostensible to make it improved in low light.

Notifications: With a Samsung S7 and a S8, if somebody sends we a summary on Facebook and we have a Facebook app on your home screen, it’ll have a small burble that says “1” or “2” or “3” that tells we how many notifications we have that are unread. Whether that’s e-mail or Facebook or other things. we consider many people are used to this. The iPhone’s had it for a prolonged time. we haven’t seen batch Android given we had a initial Nexus, so what we satisfied with this phone is that batch Android doesn’t indeed yield notifications like that.

When we demeanour during my phone we substantially have 15 notifications opposite several apps that we haven’t review yet. And a usually approach to know that with a batch Android device is a notifications adult tip that we always get absolved of. And so what finished adult function was that we would get a Facebook summary and we would omit it. So I’d appropriate that away, and afterwards we would never know to go behind and review it on Facebook. … Especially with Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all a several places where people are pinging we now.

Pasting into a dialer:  we demur to even discuss it, given it sounds so uncanny and petty, though I’ll transport though my laptop and usually use my phone, and so we join discussion calls a lot from my phone, though a laptop or paper or anything in front of me. And a approach that I’m used to doing this is, we dial a series and I’ll duplicate a discussion code… and afterwards once I’m on a line, we pulp it into [the dialer]… Apparently, a local Android OS, that is all this has on it, doesn’t support duplicate and pulp into a dialer. So we indeed was 15 mins late to a unequivocally vicious discussion call given of that problem. we had to memorize a 9 digits and afterwards go behind and onward and enter it in time… And it took me a while to figure out we couldn’t do it. It took me like 5 minutes. I’m like, ‘why is it not pasting?’ And afterwards we satisfied this is a underline that’s missing, that Samsung has indeed built, that I’m used to. So we don’t know — it’s such a uncanny one. If it was usually that, we substantially would have kept a phone, though it’s a use box that we need.

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