In case you’ve never heard of it, Essential is a smartphone company started by Andy Rubin, the man who founded the company that created Android before Google bought it. He left the company to create his own Android phone manufacturer. There, he launched the Essential Phone, a phone that was ditching headphone jacks to add notches before it was cool. It didn’t catch on, but it did have one unique feature that most phones still don’t have: a pair of contacts that can be used to attach add-ons. For the last year, the only available module was a 360-degree camera that wasn’t very popular because it was $200 and not very good. Also most people don’t need a 360-degree camera.
Now, Essential is launching a second add-on that people might actually use: a headphone jack. Yes, it’s a little bit funny to remove the headphone jack only to add it back almost a year later. Yes, it’s even funnier that it’s only the second of two magnetic add-ons that are part of an add-on system that likely only fits in the phone at all by removing the headphone jack to begin with. It’s a bit like getting a night job so you can afford enough coffee to stay awake for your night job.
If you think this confusing circle of events couldn’t get funnier, you should broaden your horizons. For starters, while the magnetic adapter gets power from the contacts on the back of the phone, it still communicates with via a wireless 60GHz frequency. This isn’t a Bluetooth connection so it could at least be higher quality than regular wireless headphones. However, it’s still an overly complicated Rube Goldberg machine of audio connections.
Also it comes with a free 3-month TIDAL subscription.