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OSOM's First Phone Lets You Switch Off Data Flow While Recharging

A render of the OSOM OV1 phone. It is pictured face down with a white back, fingerprint sensor in the top middle, and triangular camera block.
A render of the OSOM OV1, the first phone from the startup made of ex-Essential employees.
OSOM

What's happening

OSOM, the phone startup made of ex-Essential employees, has unveiled images and details of its first flagship phone with a focus on privacy.

Why it matters

Rarely do new companies challenge Apple, Samsung and other tech giants dominating the phone market, but a data-protecting flagship phone might be perfectly suited for consumers looking for a smartphone that takes privacy seriously.

OSOM, the startup that rose from the ashes of Essential, has shown off its first flagship phone, a stylish Android handset with top specs and a focus on privacy that's coming in the fourth quarter of 2022.

OSOM, which stands for Out of Sight, Out of Mind, has only released a few details about the OV1. Its Snapdragon 8-series chipset should make it powerful enough to compete with flagship Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22, and the dual 48MP and 12MP rear cameras will shoot photos on par with flagships from Samsung, the company told CNET.

The OSOM OV1 has an eye-catching design with a bright white back cover made of zirconia, a strong ceramic material aside from the triangular titanium camera bump. The stainless steel chassis has flat sides, like the iPhone 13 range, and the front glass is made of Gorilla Glass Victus. It accepts two physical SIM cards and has all-day battery life.

From what OSOM has released about the phone, the OV1 could compete with flagship handsets, though only one component of its privacy focus has been released: a physical switch on the in-box USB-C cable switches off data flow, allowing owners to recharge their device without worrying about their data being siphoned.

The OSOM OV1 comes with a cable, pictured, which has a manual switch to prevent data transfer when charging the phone.

The OSOM OV1 comes with a charging cable that can manually switch off data connection to only recharge the phone. 

OSOM

Privacy protection is what will set OSOM's products apart from the pack, CEO Jason Keats told CNET in Nov. 2020. After the undercooked Essential PH-1 phone and dissolution of that company after the fall of its co-founder Andy Rubin, some of its other employees went with Keats to form OSOM. The OV1 is its first product and comes with a lot of expectations. 

Read more: Privacy myths busted: Protecting your mobile privacy is even harder than you think

Privacy-focused phones have been gimmicky products, from the FreedomPop 'Snowden Phone' in 2014 to the avoidable Freedom Phone last year. The OSOM OV1 looks to be what those were not: a true alternative to modern flagship phones with the same top-specced power and cameras, though we'll have to test it ourselves to know for sure.