You’re absolutely right on the annoying Android policy of providing updates for 5 minutes. It should be an USP for vendors. Average consumers don’t give anything about that though. Security is something for geeks it seems. Maybe this trend is changing, as Nokia now provides their Android phones with 2 years of updates, and people become more and more aware of the risks they face using unpatched software.
I used to buy Nexi to circumvent the whole update issue. Cheap and around 2 years of updates. But a bad battery and even worse camera, which became more important to me than in the old days.
I find the Pixel too expensive for a mere 18 months of updates.
Luckily Apple decided to reboot the 5S in the form of an SE, which is 4", has decent battery life and a good camera, and probably 5 years of updates. This phone pushed me over to the Apple side of things. I’d rather had an Android, but all these security issue pushed me away…
But back on topic: the Essential phone will be a very small niche, like the Pixels, beautiful screen, unnecessary add-ons and a ludicrous prize.