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Essential's second smartphone module adds a headphone jack

It's also offering 3 months of Tidal, which supports the adapter's high-quality audio.

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AFP Contributor via Getty Images

Despite rumors it's up for sale, Essential is still operating as if everything is just fine. After releasing a new beta for Android P, the company has just launched its second modular accessory. The Audio Adapter HD packs a pre-amp and an ESS Sabre DAC that can handle high-resolution MQA (master quality audio) used by Tidal and other services. More importantly for most Essential PH-1 smartphone owners, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack, so they can soon dust off their favorite cans or earbuds.

Essential, launched by Android founder Andy Rubin, is also offering a free three-month Tidal HiFi subscription to all Essential phone owners, so that they'll have something to play using the audio adapter. Tidal HiFi has over 50,000 tracks encoded with MQA, which "allows subscribers to hear music just as it was recorded in the studio; an audio experience as the artist intended," as Tidal describes it.

Essential's PH-1 was marketed from the get-go as a modular smartphone, so the unveiling of a second module is obviously a big deal. The Audio Adapter HD is set to arrive sometime this summer, but the price has yet to be announced. Essential's first accessory, a 360-degree camera, retails for $200, but can be found on Amazon for $76 at the moment. The phone itself, the first with a camera notch (yes, ahead of the iPhone X), has dropped in price from $700 to $499.

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