The Essential Phone has been a bit of a mixed bag since it was announced. It has missed promised deadlines and shipped without the 360-degree camera that was offered in a pre-order bundle. Reviewers have raved over the physical construction of the phone but lamented over its rather barren software and lackluster pictures. Despite the rocky start, Essential now seems to be making all the right moves. They have an open dialogue with its fans and continue to update the maligned camera app. Now, it’s releasing the phone’s kernel source code.
Essential is bound by the same requirements as all other Android OEMs to release its kernel source. Android’s Linux kernel is licensed under General Public License v2 which requires anyone that makes changes to the kernel to then release those changes for the public to use. Some are better than others about this, but it seems like Essential is off to a good start.
You can find the package of the source code for the phone’s kernel and the Wi-Fi driver at the link below. Essential also tweeted that it will release factory images soon as well. Third-party ROM support has been completely non-existent up until this point due to the missing kernel source. While it’s not a guarantee that this will result in more custom ROM development, there is now hope. The Essential Phone runs pretty much stock Android with the only addition being Essential’s less than stellar camera app and its sales haven’t been great. But, maybe with a thriving development community, that could change.