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Essential may be dead but its only phone will still get a taste of Android 11

Essential Phone users who've unlocked the bootloader will soon be able to try Android 11.

Published onFebruary 24, 2020

Essential recently announced its shutdown, stating at the time that the last official software update to hit the Essential Phone will be the already released February security patch.

Now, it looks like Essential Phone users will get a taste of Android 11 after all. The device is getting support for the recently launched Android 11 Developer Preview.

Related: The most notable new Android 11 features in the first Developer Preview

First spotted by Twitter user Branden Farmer (h/t: XDA Developers), Essential has opened a new branch named r-preview on their GitHub repository. The commits here are meant to make the Essential Phone more compatible with the Android 11 Generic System Image (GSI).

GSI is a pure Android implementation with unmodified AOSP code. Any Android device that supports Project Treble can run it.

Essential’s plan for Android 11 taster

Confirming the development, Jean-Baptiste Theou, System Software Lead at Essential noted on GitHub that they “just need final internal review and validation on the latest GSI for Android 11 to allow the community to use it.”

Once Essential’s final internal review is completed, the company will release the pre-built vendor, boot, and system images that users need to flash on their devices before flashing the Android 11 GSI from Google.

This means that Essential Phone users who’ve unlocked the bootloader will soon be able to try Android 11, even though the phone won’t get an official Android 11 update.

Not sure if you want to upgrade to Android 11 just yet? Watch our video below to see what the first developer preview brings to the table.