Essential PH-2 design details surface online, reveal in-display front-facing camera

The Essential PH-2 could feature an in-display front camera with a translucent glass panel.


Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, created Essential a few years ago and introduced the company's first smartphone in 2017. Although the modular smartphone came with a few unique features (at that time), it couldn’t bring in enough money.

 Essential PH-2 design details surface online, reveal in-display front-facing camera

Representational image of Essential Ph-1. Image: Essential

While reports pointed to the fact that phone didn't fare well in sales due to limited carrier deals in select markets, there were other concerning issues that caused the failure of the PH-1 phone. The phone’s initial debut created a lot of hype with critics praising the unique design, tiny notch-display and its titanium and ceramic build. The display was truly bezel-less and the modular connector pins that allowed connecting accessories. But despite the unique aspects, countless camera updates and new features, the Essential Ph-1 came under fire due to its ‘underwhelming camera,’ faulty performance, average battery backup and above all, its hefty price tag. Hopefully, the Android creator’s company has learned from past mistakes.

According to a SlashGear report, Essential is reportedly working on the PH-1's successor, the Essential PH-2. While reports of the apparent existence of the second-gen Essential phone surfaced in December last year, a set of drawings purportedly created by Essential reveal details about the phone’s display and design.

The illustrations as spotted by SlashGear show a fingerprint sensor under the display. As per the report, the front camera will be placed under the screen and a special panel will turn translucent when taking a selfie. Together, these should result in a completely bezel-less screen with neither a notch nor some sort of fancy pop-up camera.

The report further suggests that the camera behind the display will be accompanied by a light sensor and that Essential might opt of an OLED panel. Apparently, the name PH-2 was previously spotted in a leaked document. Besides the speculated design information, other details regarding the Essential PH-2 phone are scarce right now.

A report from Bloomberg last year indicated that Andy Rubin’s company is working on an AI phone. As per the report, the startup is developing a ‘new kind of phone’ that will try to mimic the user and respond to messages automatically. The device, reportedly labelled as a ‘mobile product’, is said to have a design language different from that of a standard smartphone. Bloomberg notes that the device will have a small screen and that users will be able to interact using voice commands. Essential has not shared any word as to when it actually plans to introduce this AI phone.

To recall, the Essential PH-1 was launched in May 2017 with a 5.7-inch QHD edge-to-edge display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. However, Essential discontinued the PH-1 last year.


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