Android 9.0 pie launch

Ron: I like the rotation suggestion. It’s especially helpful if I’m surfing the web in bed or watching content and I don’t want the screen orientation to change. Gmail now allows you to customize the left and right swiping gesture. So I can swipe one direction to delete, and the other to mark as read/unread. Makes inbox management a bit easier

I also like the new volume control. I used to get so confused and frustrated when trying to change the volume for one app (example: ring volume) and the phone thinks I’m trying to change the volume for another app (example: media volume). Now I know that the default is for Media volume, and one more tap reveals volume settings for everything else.

Elyse: We want to keep our community engaged and happy.

I think we’re lucky to have a very devoted group of users who provide us a lot of feedback during (and after) our Beta periods—so it’s nice to be able to respond to that feedback as soon as possible. Every time we send out software patches and security updates, we’re responding to our vocal user base and doing our best to deliver what they want.

Jean-Baptiste: A lot of work ahead of time! We committed ourselves to offer the latest software available, and to provide our OTAs with the latest Linux kernel available. All of those things require a lot of planning and dedication to make it happen. But this is what Essential is about: A small team dedicated to providing the best software available to our users.

Elyse: Our small teams contribute big time to getting updates out at lightning speed. We have a very dedicated group of engineers and testers and a tight process. There isn’t a lot of back and forth between multiple teams to bring this all together. Our project managers, and software and quality engineers work together very closely. We’re able to communicate with each other at all hours of the day to make sure that issues get resolved ASAP. And we have incredibly quick turnaround with building and testing our patches as a result—no red tape to worry about here.

Ron: I feel like it’s a 4×100 relay. Once Google handed off their latest P beta release to us, we sprinted to merge this code into ours and handed it off to QA/Beta testers to ensure the build is consumer-ready. There’s a sense of accomplishment knowing we’re crossing the finish line and giving our customers the P release at the same time Google is releasing to the public.

Jacin: We plan our releases two to three months in advance. And we have a very dedicated Development / Quality Assurance process that takes a lot of pride in making sure we get the releases out on time. Sometimes that means putting in extra time on nights and weekends with the specialized testing that is needed to meet release criteria with Google.

Elyse: One of the trickiest bugs we had to resolve was an issue where jumping from Nougat directly to P (skipping Oreo altogether) broke Wi-Fi. The system couldn’t gracefully handle jumping an entire Android version. It took several attempted fixes and plenty of late night testing before we got it figured out. But we did! What surprised you most about building Android Pie for Essential Phone?