Osom, the company founded by Essential employees after the startup’s demise, has released new details about its upcoming OV1 phone, including a very well-known list of build materials. Aimed to compete with the flagships from Apple, Google and Samsung, the OV1 features a stainless steel and titanium body, ceramic back, Corning Victus cover glass and a Qualcomm processor.
The stainless steel is used for the phone’s frame, while titanium is used for accents like the power and volume buttons and the ring around the camera bump Android Police. It sounds like the phone will have some weight – Osom says the OV1 will be “noticeably larger” than the Essential Phone, which had razor-thin bezels and a 5.7-inch screen. The company also says the phone will be available in white and matte black, but that there will be “some surprises” in the colors.
Speaking to Osom founder and CEO Jason Keats, he said that the OV1 was not intentionally meant to be reminiscent of the Essential Phone. The similarity is just the natural result of the same team engineering and designing. In my opinion, it still manages to stand out – the materials are still relatively unusual on most phones, even five years after we praised the Essential Phone’s construction. Apple is probably the closest we’ve got with the stainless steel sides and “ceramic shield” of the iPhone 13 Pro, but I think most people would immediately tell the difference between the iPhone and an OV1. (Also, there’s the price — Osom didn’t say exactly how much his phone would cost, but did say Android Police it would come well under $1,000 where the 13 Pro is begins.)
The OV1 was supposed to be fully revealed this week TechCrunch, but Osom is delaying its announcement and delivery date to allow it to upgrade the phone’s processor. The company says it will use a “Snapdragon 8-series” chipset, although it says it can’t give specifics TechCrunch. Qualcomm recently changed its chip naming scheme with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, although it seems unlikely that the OV1 will use that particular chip given its vows of silence.
Osom says the phone will have “all-day” battery life and that it will have ultra-wideband, or UWB, the same technology other manufacturers like Apple, Google, and Samsung are using for things like precise location tracking and digital car keys. Keats declined to say exactly what this radio is for, but said the company had some “interesting stuff cooking” that it would announce later. It will have space for two physical SIM cards – according to Keats, the company made a conscious decision not to use an e-SIM in order not to lock itself into certain carriers. (He also mentioned that partnering with a particular airline was a “devastating mistake for Essential.”)
Osom says it’s also learned from Essential’s camera failures and wants the OV1 to offer a “true flagship camera experience.” In terms of design, the OV1 has a camera bump, something the Essential phone avoided. This bump holds the two rear cameras of 48 and 12 megapixels. The front camera will be 16 MP. With software being so important to the mobile photography experience, it’s hard to say how those specs translate into snapshots at this point.
Finally, there’s the USB-C-to-C cable that comes in the box. There’s not usually much to say about this, but Osom has one with a neat trick: the ability to flip a switch that physically separates the data pins, allowing you to more conveniently charge your phone from a public outlet (although admittedly in my experience those are usually still USB-A). Unfortunately, the mechanical separation means the cable runs at USB 2 speeds — a chilly 60 megabytes per second, according to Osom spokesman Andy Fouché. However, the OV1’s port can support the much faster 625MB/s speeds of USB 3.2 Gen 1 when paired with a different cable.
Keats couldn’t say how fast the OV1 will charge, only that it will be “impressively quick”. It’s BYOB (bring your own brick) though – it doesn’t come with a charger in the box.
Update March 3rd 6:22pm ET: Updated with additional information about the OV1’s included cable.