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The Android Camera app for the Essential PH-1 recently received a major update, with the Palo Alto, California-based tech startup introducing a wide variety of new features and improvements to the platform as part of a revised build of the service launched on Wednesday. The update should now be available for download in all parts of the world and can be installed by referring to the Google Play Store banner below. The most prominent new functionality that debuted with the latest software build comes in the form of improved mono video recording which now supports clips shot at 60 frames per second. The feature should allow for smoother black-and-white videos recorded using the secondary 13-megapixel monochrome sensor found on the Essential PH-1 and will consequently improve the versatility of the smartphone’s widely criticized imaging performance, one of the biggest gripes reviewers and consumers had with the first mobile device from the company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin.
The changelog detailing the new update also mentions a reworked structure of the software backend managing the 360 Camera add-on for the Essential PH-1, with the startup suggesting that future over-the-air (OTA) updates to the app pertaining to the handset’s first modular accessory will be quicker but without elaborating on the matter. Some minor user interface tweaks and improvements are also said to be part of the package, as are various stability fixes, though initial reviews of the new version of the app found on the Google Play Store still indicate that arguably the biggest issue with the app still hasn’t been fixed, as the mobile tool reportedly remains somewhat sluggish and occasionally unresponsive. Essential vowed to rework the camera software of its first commercial device after initial reviews of the nearly bezel-less flagship made their way online and while the imaging experience offered by the smartphone is now better than it was at launch, it’s still objectively below the capabilities of other high-end Android devices on the market.
The Essential PH-1 received a massive discount last month after reportedly underperforming at launch and is currently available for $500 outright in the United States, with Sprint also offering it for only $5 per month, a significant price cut compared to the $700 one attached to the handset when it launched in August. Mr. Rubin’s startup previously committed to releasing numerous new modular attachments for the device, though it remains to be seen whether its supposedly disappointing commercial performance will affect the company’s hardware plans.