13 February 2020
Update: February 29, 2020
Essential has released the vendor image for Essential Phone. So, before getting the Android 11 Developer Preview, you would need to flash it first for the maximum compatibility. Also, we will not recommend to flash it over your phone if you're not an expert at it or don't know how to proceed.
Original Post (February 24, 2020 )
Essential Phone appears to be getting just one more, one last major support to test the next major Android OS upgrade that could delight its users. Earlier this month, Essential officially announced that they were shutting down and it would no longer provide software support for its first and only smartphone, the Essential Phone. But contrary to the announcement and what it stated to the customers, the Essential Phone is getting support for the Android 11 Developer Preview. This means even though Essential won’t be rolling out an official Android 11 update, it is giving its customers the opportunity to test one more update for one last time.
Spotted first by Braden Farmer on Twitter, Essential engineers have opened a new branch called “r-preview” on their GitHub repo. These commits aim at making the Essential Phone more compatible with the Android 11 Generic System Image (GSI), a prebuilt system image that can be booted on devices that support Project Treble.
Reportedly, Jean-Baptiste Theou, System Software Lead at Essential has also confirmed in a comment that they “just need final internal review and validation on the latest GSI for Android 11 to allow the community to use it.”
Once this is finished, Essential will release system images that users first flash onto their devices before flashing the official Android 11 Generic System Image from Google.