- Brian Ach/Stringer
- The high-end Essential Phone’s price has been slashed by $200 (£151). It’s the latest project from Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android. But reports suggest it hasn’t been selling well as it competes with the likes of Google and Apple.
The Essential Phone, a high-end smartphone designed by Android creator Andy Rubin, is getting its priced slashed by $200 (£151).
The drop, from $699 (£530) to $499 (£378), comes after reports of disappointing sales for the new PH-1 devices – and alongside the launch of multiple new high-end devices from the likes of Apple and Google.
(The Essential Phone isn’t yet available in the UK. The Financial Times reported in July that it would launch by the end of 2017. The UK price will presumably be in line with this lower price point.)
The Essential Phone is the first device released by Essential, a startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin after leaving Google in 2014. It started with phones, and plans to branch out from there. There are already modular add-ons available for the Essential Phone, including a 360-degree camera.
In a blog post announcing the price drop, Essential took a not-so-subtle dig at its rivals, writing: “We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us.” (Customers who already bought a device are being offered $200 credit.)
So how may people have “got their hands” on Essential’s products? The company hasn’t released sales figures, but some reports don’t look positive.
Market research firm BayStreet Research said the smartphone sold just 5,000 devices in its first two weeks in the US – a drop in the ocean compared to the likes of Apple, Samsung, and so on. (In 2015, Apple’s iPhone 7s sold 13 million units in its first weekend available.)
Per Fortune, that equates to just $3.5 million (£2.6 million) in revenue. That’s almost nothing when you consider Essential raised $300 million (£227 million) from investors earlier this year in a Series B funding round.
Meanwhile, Google has announced its new Pixel 2 Android smartphones, to positive reviews (concerns about the screen on the Pixel 2 XL notwithstanding). And Apple is about to release the eagerly anticipated iPhone X, a tenth anniversary edition of its iconic smartphone with a major new redesign.
It’s a crowded field, and it sounds like the Essential Phone is finding it hard to compete.