'Essential Phone 2' reportedly coming, with a better camera

Andy Rubin-backed Essential says it will fix its phone's camera problems, according to a report.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury

The first Essential Phone didn't cut it.


Essential has admitted that its inaugural Essential phone failed to please Android enthusiasts and general buyers, according to Business Insider

"In general, one thing that we got hit hard with was the quality of our camera," the company's design lead, Linda Jiang, told the outlet. "We can say, we heard you and we're going to do it better on the second-gen for sure," she added.

Founded by Andy Rubin, widely known as the father of Android, Essential promised a clean, stripped-down version of Android on high-end hardware. 

But a camera dogged by a lack of basic features like HDR and poor low light performance failed to impress reviewers and buyers alike, despite US carrier support from Sprint and despite massive price cuts

The Essential Phone also failed to create an ecosystem of modules like a snap-on 360-degree camera and a home speaker that never arrived.

Essential's failure to capture any meaningful market interest despite Rubin's pedigree underscores the dominance that established players like Samsung and Apple wield.

Watch this: We destroyed the Essential Phone

While Essential did update the Essential Phone's camera through a series of firmware updates, it didn't fix key issues for low light shots and autofocus speed.

Representatives for Essential did not respond immediately to CNET's request for comment.