Essential, Andy Rubin’s brainchild, is seen as one of the most promising start-ups in recent time. The company commanded a market valuation of over $1 billion before it had sold even a single device. Now its valuation will be worth watching as its first-month sales estimates hit the market.
Those first-month numbers are not very encouraging. According to estimates from BayStreet research, Essential sold just 5,000 phones in the United States in the first month. Obviously, this Essential smartphone sales number is significantly less than the numbers from big names like Apple and Samsung, which sell millions of phones every quarter in the United States.
Further, the BayStreet report notes that it is just estimating based on sell-through numbers (when a customer buys from a retailer) rather than Essential’s sell-in numbers (when a retailer buys from a manufacturer). Thus, the official numbers could be different.
The Essential smartphone is available on the Sprint network in the United States. However, one can get the unlocked version of the phone as well. One probable reason for the low sales number could be the company’s retail strategy rather than the device itself. Selling the phone exclusively through one carrier may not be a sound strategy, especially when other devices are sold through all major carriers. Given the fact that this is the first Essential smartphone, people will be hesitant to spend $700 on a completely new brand, especially when it is limited to only one mobile network.
The Essential folks have been working on the getting the phone available on other major network carriers, and it looks like they have succeeded. Just a few days ago, we heard that the Essential PH-1 is now certified for the Verizon network. Founder Andy Rubin announced via his official Twitter account that the phone was deemed fit to arrive on Verizon. Earlier, Verizon was a little skeptical about if the phone would be compatible with its network, and thus, the phone had to pass the certification process before it could be sold on the Verizon network.
Based on the form factor and specifications, the Essential smartphone was deemed to be the perfect phone for Android lovers even before it was launched. Premium hardware and a top-notch Android experience makes the phone truly desirable. Further, the end-to-end screen and body made of a single piece of forged titanium make the Essential PH-1 stand out from others. Although a little heavier, titanium is known to be more durable than glass. However, the camera could have been better, or maybe it is one of the company’s strategies to push sales of its camera accessory, notes SlashGear.
It must be noted that retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and Essential’s official website have seen decent traffic for the phone. However, other Android device makers like OnePlus sold more devices, even with less attention, notes BGR. Even before the Essential smartphone was launched, it was plagued by some funding issues, and the launch date was postponed from July to late August, further dampening the spirits of those waiting.
The Essential PH-1 will need to ramp things up if it wants to sustain itself against the competition. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 is having a promising start. Perhaps the biggest threat to the Essential smartphone will be the upcoming iPhone X, which starts shipping in November.