Essential was famous for beating the rest of the industry to the upcoming trends by releasing its PH-1 phone in mid-2017 with a tear drop notch before anyone else. Of course, there are a lot of manufacturers using the same technique in 2018 and beyond.
Now the latest information by Slashgear indicates that the Essential Phone PH-2 concept comes with one camera and one light sensor hidden behind the display which can become semi transparent when needed. This definitely sounds like a step forward compared to the cut down display with camera in it, a trend that we’ve seen with Honor V20 and expect from the Galaxy S10 phones and many more in 2019.
Essential's latest patent filing does include a fingerprint detector under the display, but this already featured in a few phones in 2018. The real question is whether Essential can make use of Qualcomm's recent ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that doesn’t need a lightning source and won't decay the screen over time. It is expected that the Galaxy S10 might come with a sensor like that and we should know that rather soon.
A behind the display camera and light source with transparent display that hides the camera and shows content when needed sounds like a step in the right direction, but at the same time indicates that this is where the industry is heading with high end phones in 2020. Essential is a smaller player that is willing to take risks and commit to early technology - unlike some big names that have to have millions of good yields in order to pursue a certain technology. Samsung and Xiaomi - to name just a few - bring a lot of innovation with their phones but at slightly conservative rates due to massive volume.
Essential impressed the market with Android updates sometimes just hours after Google releases them and this was one of its key selling arguments. The second really sound technology idea is the universal connector that lets you add features to your phone. We hope that if PH-2 sees the light of the day, that it comes with both of these features.
The company’s time to market was always close to the pixel and we expect this phone to appear towards the second half of the year, and no earlier.