[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.

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Public statement after the data leak

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!

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.

The US OEM delivered the recentmost February 2019 security update for Essential Phone just a moment after Google’s announcement.

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 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.

New update breaks in car Bluetooth Calling if you have a Roav Viva (Alexa) from essential

Bluetooth Issues from essential

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

(Source)

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

(Source)

Some of the affected users reached out to Essential via email support. From their reply, it looks like they are aware of the situation.

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Image source: Twitter

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_ph-1_feb_bt_email_reddit

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.

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.

Preliminary user reports are highly positive.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.