[Updated] Essential August AMA: camera top priority, notch settings will be back

Update (October 02):

The October update brings back notch settings.

Update (August 21):

Original story:

Essential has revealed quite a few important details during their latest Reddit AMA session that took place yesterday. To start off, the company has effectively confirmed that the notch settings – which disappeared in the Android 9 Pie build – will be brought back. However, this won’t happen soon.

Here’s what the company exactly said:

We have discussed this internally and now that P has launched, it is very apparent from our community that you guys want this back in. It will take a bit of work since it is not a 1:1 code transfer from 8.1 to 9.0 given google changed the notch logic so a portion of the code will have to be re-written. But for time frame on implementation it will likely not be in the next security release given it will all need to be re-tested for stability. Thanks for pushing though…. We literally quote these comments when in roadmap planning meetings when we discuss notch settings

Ever since Android Pie arrived for Essential Phone, users have been complaining they cannot play games or see videos in full screen mode any more due to this missing notch-related functionality. It’s good the company has decided to bring the feature back.

Moving on, Essential also said that camera is their top priority, noting that top crashes, performance improvements, security fixes, and high impact bugs will be taken care of as soon as possible. Video stabilization is also in the list, but not on priority at the moment.


Sadly, the company also confirmed there are currently no plans to leverage Multi-Camera API and HEIF support in Android 9 Pie.

And as far as ARCore is concerned, that also seems unlikely in near future. Here’s what exactly Essential said on this matter:

We are in line with Google to add ARCore but behind a long list of OEMs to get support. We’ve mentioned this in previous AMA’s but ARCore requires a developer partnership with Google to implement. Unfortunately they haven’t gotten to us yet so we are in the hurry up and wait mode

Other important tidbits discussed during this month’s AMA include: Google Play Services induced battery drain is seemingly a Google issue, camera buzzing noise is a hardware issue for which users can claim RMA, crash caused by manual switching of network/carrier is being worked on, and the company has around 120 employees.

You can access the complete AMA here.

Note: We have also compiled a (continuously updated) list of issues/problems/bugs reported with (or triggered by) Android 9 Pie ever since it got live. Take a look to catch hold of all Pie-related issues.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.