Essential Phone: Thoughts?


Things I dislike about iPhones

  • arbitrary restrictions on what can and can’t be done, which don’t seem to have any sensible reasons for existence other than “it’s opposed to Apple’s business model” – no other browsers; third-party browsers which embed WebKit can’t add to home screen; no NFC access unless you’re Apple Pay; you need to use iTunes or buy Garageband to set a bloody ringtone
  • proprietary communications protocol which Apple won’t properly document, meaning that I can’t reliably copy stuff on and off the phone by cable, and I can’t use wifi or ssh because apps aren’t allowed access to all my stuff
  • when there are problems, Apple’s response is “use iTunes to back up the whole phone and factory reset it”; if you say “there’s no Ubuntu version” the response is “use iCloud to back up the whole phone and factory reset it”; if you say “man, I really don’t wanna do that, especially since it costs money” the response is “well, you lose then”
  • No SD card for you

Essentially, these all boil down to “you will use this device in the way we, Apple, want you to, and if you try to do something we didn’t anticipate or don’t like, we will put in extra work to make that difficult”. I freely admit that I probably trip over these sorts of edge cases more than most people.

Things I dislike about Android phones

  • There is little or no consistency. There’s no strong design direction. Which means that different apps on the same phone, different phones from the same manufacturer, different phones from different manufacturers work in different ways. Try to write a description of for example “how to put the phone in silent mode” or “how to turn off wifi” without asking what the phone make and model are and you’ll find it very difficult indeed for Android phones, and one sentence for iPhones
  • Massive delays in new OS releases, unless you’ve got a Google-branded phone (Nexus or Pixel)
  • To a first approximation, and this is obviously massively subjective, they’re ugly. Apps are ugly; hardware industrial design is ugly. There are exceptions; on the hardware side, my delightful OnePlus X is delightful, for example. And I like Material Design, but it’s largely not been adopted by third-party app developers; some of this is perhaps because it’s seen less as “the Android standard” and more as “what Google apps use”, but some of it is because Android devs tend to reject the idea of complying with someone else’s design and would rather be inconsistent because then they’re not knuckling under to the Man, since if they wanted that they’d be iPhone developers
  • Worrying level of “you really really need a Google account to use this phone” integration. Which is on the one hand a good thing – consistency! – but it means that you get hassled into bits about it if you don’t. I have a Google account, no problem with that, and use it. But, say, Google Game Centre… I never, ever want that. But there is no way of actually turning it off. I have to say “no, don’t sign into it” on every startup of every game that wants it. I want to tell the OS “when a game asks for Game Centre, pretend I said no thanks, and don’t ever show me the popup again”, and I can’t

Essentially, these mostly boil down to “there are fifty different 'Android’s and little consistency between them”.

Things that annoy me about both

  • No removeable battery for you
  • Battery life is bloody shocking
  • They’re all too bloody big apart from the iPhone SE and one weird Sony phone

So, in general, when I get hacked off enough with Android’s lack of consistency and design, I get an iPhone, which solves that problem for me. Then after a while when I get hacked off enough with Apple’s pointless restrictions on the way I’m allowed to use my device, I get an Android phone, which solves that problem for me. Repeat until false.

2x16: Indeskribable

Very elaborate response!

Come to think of it, I seem to have a similar perspective: Your pro’s and cons seem to be universal, though their priority is different for every individual. I seem to be in the “I want consistency, updates and a small phone”-camp at the moment, Hence iPhone SE. But this could change in the future.
I recently tried Windows Mobile again, but that OS is DOA when you start to do more than place a phone call.


I hope they (Essential) add an Android component to disable touch on some margin around the screen. How the hell are you supposed to hold it with no border ?!?


Just watched:

Interesting to see it. Beautiful looking thing. Still boggles me that it is not waterproof though.

I am excited to see how it does - I like the idea of more pixel-like phones competing with each other.


they said Sprint got the userband on the 404 show.

althou № six is where they’ll shine through


Clip-on accessory: Magnetic card reader. Square plugging into an audio jack was an innovative workaround and I give them credit for figuring out how to make that work. But if they weren’t the only external accessory anyone wants to add to a phone then there would be enough demand for clip-on-accessories to have seen the previous modular phones not just languish away.


I’m not seeing the Essential Phone have a wireless charging solution. Is this actually the case? I for one won’t buy a phone without it.

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