[May update: Should be fixed] Essential acknowledges Bluetooth issues with February update, offers advisories
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
As a smartphone maker, Essential experienced a love-hate relationship with the Android community. The absurd initial pricing and the ‘humiliating’ customer data leak were few examples of the rough patches.
Led by Andy Rubin (co-creator of Android), Essential on the other hand gets universal acclaim for delivering speedy updates. Not only just monthly security updates, Essential delivered Android 9 Pie for Essential Phone AKA PH-1 on the launch day!
We’re proud to bring Android 9 Pie to Essential Phone the same day it’s released! Check your phone now for the update. 🥧 pic.twitter.com/pniUDl9yr8
— Essential (@essential) August 6, 2018
The original Essential Phone was launched with Android 7 Nougat, and it has already got 2 major version upgrades. The demand for a successor is skyrocketing, and Essential is certainly hiding some surprises at their end.
All these stories about Essential's demise just end up feeding my desire to rub their faces in it in the future. We aren't done, not by a long shot.
— Jason Keats (@EssentialKeats) December 30, 2018
The US OEM delivered the recentmost February 2019 security update for Essential Phone just a moment after Google’s announcement.
We're rolling out February's security patch now. Keep an eye out for the update on your Essential Phone. pic.twitter.com/ljXyFOScpQ
— Essential (@essential) February 4, 2019
Apparently this particular update contains a good amount of internal Bluetooth related changes, as users started reporting various issues with BT headphones and third party car Bluetooth accessories.
@essential whatever you all did in latest update with Bluetooth broke phone connection to car. I am no longer able to talk through car. Hotfix please…
— Samir Banjanovic (@SamirBanjanovic) February 5, 2019
@essential After February update, Bluetooth on my phone is totally screwed up. Anyone else having this issue?
— LAMJ (@svrasputin8) February 6, 2019
@essential yesterday's update broke Bluetooth calling in vehicles. Any news on this?
— Ryan Gregory (@321vegas) February 6, 2019
Not sure who to ask, nor who will help. Since updating to @Android PQ1A.190105.014, my @essential PH1 has issues answering calls over bluetooth with my 2015 @Kia Sorento. The phone shows call audio is being sent to the car, but the car says audio is on the phone.
— Cameron S. (@CretinCam) February 10, 2019
Essential uses reddit for communicating with the consumers and other users. The subreddit r/essential serves as a replacement of traditional product support forums. Several reports of the same Bluetooth related issue can be spotted there as well.
XDA’s Essential Phone subforum is also getting filled up with similar reports.
I factory reset and still having issues as well, I’m completely stock with locked bootloader. Only real Bluetooth issue I have is phone calls going through my phone speakers even though it says it’s using Bluetooth, audio for music and podcasts is fine. Very strange
I also have the bt issue since February update. Interestingly, also used a gear fit2 watch.
The issue is, and persistent after network reset, forget all bt devices, factory reset, that new connections or connect to same device doesn’t work with some exceptions: sometimes turn bt off and back on works for connecting to known device for a short while, same immediately after reboot. Most consistent is pairing/connect in safe mode.
I am going to try to rollback to jan build
Some of the affected users reached out to Essential via email support. From their reply, it looks like they are aware of the situation.
Another redditor was given a slightly different reply. Toggling the airplane mode can be helpful, according to Essential. Experienced users can also rollback to January build.
Essential does provide current and older builds from their download portal, along with necessary drivers (for Windows) for manual flashing.
It should also be noticed that Essential may distribute the bugfix on next month’s (March) update. No intermediate hotfix release is planned so far.
Update 1 (March 5)
The March 2019 security update is currently rolling out for Essential Phone.
The latest software release is now available. Check your Essential Phone for the update! pic.twitter.com/dzlWIPduAN
— Essential (@essential) March 4, 2019
However, it seems that the Bluetooth issue is not fixed yet as Essential is still investigating the matter.
We are currently monitoring the situation and trying to gather feedback from users. Stay tuned for more updates.
Update 2 (May 6)
Seems that Essential finally fixed the Bluetooth issue in May 2019 OTA update.
May system updates are here with improvements to bluetooth and shutdown responsiveness some of you experienced. Check your phone for the update! pic.twitter.com/t12OA99zmo
— Essential (@essential) May 6, 2019
Preliminary user reports are highly positive.
PiunikaWeb is a unique initiative that mainly focuses on investigative journalism. This means we do a lot of hard work to come up with news stories that are either ‘exclusive,’ ‘breaking,’ or ‘curated’ in nature. Perhaps that’s the reason our work has been picked by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and more. Do take a tour of our website to get a feel of our work. And if you like what we do, stay connected with us on Twitter (@PiunikaWeb) and other social media channels to receive timely updates on stories we publish.