Something to look forward to: The Osom OV1 is an upcoming flagship killer phone that looks like the spiritual successor to the Essential PH1. Built by many of the same engineers that worked on the latter handset, this is supposed to be a privacy-focused device, born of lessons learned from the commercial failure of the PH1.
You probably haven’t heard of Osom (pronounced “awesome”), a company that sprung from the ashes of the Andy Rubin-led Essential after it shut down in 2020. The latter company succumbed after a few short years, as it ran out of money before it could align its vision with the general consumer trends in the smartphone market.
Back in December 2021, Osom revealed it had been building a new phone using lessons learned from the failure of the Essential PH1. This week, the company offered a sneak peek at what it describes as a “privacy-focused smartphone” that doesn’t feature any extra gimmicks like modularity or a microscope camera.
The Osom OV1 is supposedly designed to compete with the current crop of flagships from the likes of Samsung, Google, and Apple. It looks a lot like the Essential PH1, but with a bigger screen and a thicker chassis that will accommodate a bigger battery. The new phone will have a stainless steel and titanium frame, a ceramic back, and a Corning Gorilla Glass Victus-covered OLED display.
The choice of materials definitely gives the OV1 a premium look, and the ceramic back will apparently be available in several colors — glossy white, matte black, and a few secret colors the company isn’t ready to reveal just yet. As noted by Android Police, this could include the “Ocean Depths” color from the Essential PH1, sans the copper accents.
Internal specs are a bit vague, but Osom says they’ve recently decided to integrate a new chipset “based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 series” and sub-6GHz 5G connectivity, as well as support for the ultra-wideband (UWB) communication protocol. Unfortunately, this also means the phone’s release has been delayed until Q4 2022, but at least the pricing will supposedly be “well under $1,000.”
The camera module holds a 48-megapixel sensor and a 12-megapixel one, while the front shooter sports a 12-megapixel sensor. The Essential PH1 was heavily criticized for its relatively modest picture quality despite the high price tag, so the OV1 is expected to offer a better experience in that regard.
Moving on to the main promise of the OV1, Osom isn’t ready to reveal any details about the software experience on the phone and how it will improve user privacy and security. Still, the Essential PH1 stood out for its timely software updates, and the OV1 will supposedly be no different — with four or five years of security updates and an unlocked bootloader for people who want to install a custom ROM. Osom is also planning to organize bug bounties and allow security experts to probe the OV1’s privacy and security defenses as part of a developer program later this year.
The company also revealed the new phone will ship with a special USB-C cable equipped with a physical switch. The switch will allow users to toggle between data transfer and charging-only modes, and this will, of course, work with other phones. This will supposedly offer a layer of protection against things like juice-jacking and USB killer attacks.
Osom doesn’t expect the new phone to sell in huge numbers at first, and will be taking a direct sales approach with the OV1 in the US. The new phone will also be available in Europe through Amazon and additional channels, but that will be a tougher market to break in due to the flood of Chinese phones from companies like Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi, Vivo, iQOO, and others.