Only 5,000 Essential Phones have sold to date

BayStreet Research, which tracks shipments of phones across the US, estimates that Essential has only sold 5,000 phones since its US retail debut in the last few weeks. That’s a tiny fraction of what larger companies like Samsung and Apple achieve, selling tens of millions of phones per quarter.

The Essential Phone sells for a relatively high $699 unlocked and is compatible with all major US carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Sprint also sells it as a carrier exclusive with easier payment options attached. Leasing the phone on Sprint is $14.58/mo for 18 months with no money down. That’s a bargain for the device, representing a 50% discount worth $260. The outright retail price is still $699.

The phone also sports a magnetic connector on the back that makes it modular, similar in concept to Motorola’s Moto Mods. There is currently only one modular attachment available, a 360-degree camera for $179 (with the purchase of a phone), but others are promised down the road. Sprint also sells the camera for $200 or $16.67 over 12 months.

Essential is the first major startup from the “Father of Android”, Andy Rubin. According to Bloomberg, the company is already valued at around $1.2 billion, which is impressive to say the least. It has a huge hill to climb, however, if it wants to compete in a hypercompetitive market. There have already been several hiccups associated with the launch, including months of delays, a serious email security gaffe and lackluster customer service. The Essential Phone is also surrounded by heavyweights like Samsung, Apple and LG, all of which have full carrier support and aggressive marketing.

Initial reviews of the Essential Phone have been lukewarm. The build quality and exotic materials (titanium and ceramic) were universally praised, but performance issues and a disappointing camera cost it some points. In addition, iFixit’s teardown of the phone in early September showed that it was virtually impossible to repair.

Andy Rubin recently spoke with Time and reinforced his company’s position that the phone is only one part of a larger mission. He ultimately plans to develop personal digital assistants across a wide range of devices.

Source: FierceWireless

About the Author: Erik Slaven

He was born and raised in Virginia, but escaped to Southern CA. Started out as a BlackBerry addict until he bought HTC’s Droid Eris and never looked back. He's owned dozens of Android devices and can rarely settle on a daily driver for more than a few months. He's currently using a Galaxy S8 and BlackBerry KEYone. He rides motorcycles for fun and would live on the beach if it was legal. Marketing and freelance pr help keep the lights on.

  • socalman777

    just too expensive when you can buy a late-model phone from Motorola, unlocked, for $ 284.00

    • Erik Tyler

      It’s definitely a niche device, but the price isn’t outrageous. Relatively in line with other flagships.