Andy Rubin's Essential phone, which was released earlier this year, has been seen as many as a great flagship smartphone that has potential to be easily modified. And today, Essential have brought us a step closer to the realisation of this notion, by publishing the kernel sources for the device.
The device notably features a very Nexus-esque clean Android experience. It features minimal bloatware or additions from Essential's side of things, leaving the remaining Android experience to be one that's extremely close to stock. This makes for a nice base to modify from. In addition to this, it features an unlockable bootloader, which Essential have provided unlocking instructions for in the past.
Furthermore, a statement in a recent AMA on Reddit has indicated that they wish to support custom ROM and tweaking for the device, and will also be providing factory images for the device in the near future; presumably after the launch of Android Oreo for the phone.
The kernel sources for the device, which are an essential (no pun intended) component of custom ROM development, have been published to the open-source section of Essential's website, along with the device's WiFi drivers. The ZIPs containing the source code and all other necessary development resources can be downloaded immediately, and are roughly a 165MB download. It can be assumed, according to XDA, that they didn't use a service like GitHub to publish this code so they can easily update the sources whenever the device is updated by simply adding a new ZIP file; an interesting approach.
While there is not a wealth of development for the Essential phone at the moment, this should definitely help get things off the ground; especially given the excellent foundation that the near-stock Android experience provides. We're definitely excited to see the type of things that the community can pilot for this phone in the near future.
What do you guys think? Do you own an Essential phone? Are you excited to see custom ROM support finding its way to your device? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.