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Our first look at the OSOM OV1, from the brains behind the Essential Phone

The phone will focus on privacy and security, as well as a much better camera experience.
By
December 22, 2021
TL;DR
  • The OSOM OV1 is the first smartphone from former Essential employees.
  • The device will focus on privacy and security features, as well as a far better camera experience than the Essential Phone.
  • Full specs will be revealed at MWC in February 2022.

Update, December 22, 2021, at 09:04 AM ET: OSOM also spoke with TechCrunch about the upcoming OV1. In the interview, CEO Jason Keats revealed that the phone would be officially announced at MWC 2022 in February, and that the phone would cost “well under $1,000.”

Keats also provided another image of the OV1, this time in white. See it below, and continue on to the full story.


Original article, December 21, 2021, at 11:47 AM ET: The demise of Andy Rubin’s Essential in 2020 was surprising yet necessary. Although the CEO and founder of the company turned out to be — how should I put this lightly — a dirtbag, Essential was still full of good ideas, and, perhaps most importantly, a team of people still willing to shake things up in the smartphone industry.

Jason Keats, the former head of R&D at Essential, announced a new company called OSOM Products in September 2020, sans-Rubin. One of OSOM’s goals is to provide privacy-focused products to those who want a little more out of their Android phones. Today, we’re getting a look at the company’s first smartphone, the OSOM OV1.

Android Police’s Ryne Hager sat down with Jason Keats, the founder and CEO of OSOM, to talk about the OV1.

As you can see in the photos in this article, the OSOM OV1 smartphone will have two rear-facing cameras, a rear-facing fingerprint sensor, and a flat backplate. It will also run on a Qualcomm chipset, though OSOM did not reveal which one.

We can expect the OV1 to be a premium smartphone, but it likely won’t target ultra-premium devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Pixel 6 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro. The full list of OSOM OV1 specs will reportedly be announced at MWC in February 2022, so we still have a few months to wait. The company is shooting for a summer 2022 release date for its first phone.

So, what makes the OSOM OV1 stand out? Keats told Android Police that the OV1 will still run a stock-like build of Android — similar to the Essential Phone — with some added customizations for privacy and security. These enhancements will supposedly help users control what is and isn’t shared to and from their Android phone. In fact, Keats says OSOM’s privacy and security features are “100-fold” more powerful than Android’s existing privacy indicators.

Privacy and security were among the first pain points the OSOM team wanted to address when creating the OV1. Keats explained:

… [We] sat down and said, ‘What is something we can address?’ And we said, ‘Well, I’m really annoyed at how much my phone and other companies know what I’m doing.

OSOM has been going back and forth with Google to ensure its software is compatible with GMS and MADA requirements.

For those worried about the Essential Phone’s main downfall, the camera, OSOM has been “spending a lot of time and money” to make sure the camera doesn’t completely suck.

Not much else is known about the OSOM OV1, aside from vague availability details. The OSOM OV1 will be sold in the US, Canada, and a few European countries next year. The company is supposedly foregoing carrier partnerships altogether in the US, so you’ll only be able to buy the device unlocked.