The Essential PH-1, the first device from Andy Rubin’s startup, was expected prior to its release to be a pretty impressive smartphone. However, after the release, the high-priced phone was marred by several camera issues. At the time, many believed that the handset would be a big flop and wouldn’t sell. However, reports are now suggesting that Essential Phone sales could have surpassed 50,000 units.
Why did the Essential Phone get a slow start?
Earlier this fall, BayStreet Research estimated that Essential Phone sales stood at 5,000 units in the first month. However, this number was actually just sales at Sprint, the exclusive launch partner for the Essential Phone in the U.S. The poor sales were attributed to several factors, including the hefty price tag, multiple delays, and technical glitches. Due to the delays, the phone faced direct competition from the latest phones from more established brands, like the iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, and LG V30.
The phone’s $700 price tag also may have discouraged potential buyers looking for an inexpensive but feature-rich phone. Realizing this mistake, the company permanently discounted it by $200 less than two months after its launch. Customers who had already bought one were given a $200 early adopter credit. The credit could be used to buy accessories for the PH-1 or another unit of the handset. The company also offered the phone and the 360 Camera at just $400 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Now, based on the number of downloads of its camera app on the Google Play Store, it is being estimated that the company might have sold over 50,000 units of the handset. The download number was updated on Tuesday, and it was first noticed by one Reddit user.
“Well, the Essential Phone is the only phone that is capable of downloading the Essential Camera app via the Play Store, hence the assumption,” says AndroidPolice.
The download numbers for the pre-installed Essential apps–Essential Resources and Essential Services–are still in the 10,000 to 50,000 range on the Play Store.
Is this Essential Phone sales number enough?
The number of camera app downloads is only a rough estimate of the actual sales, as the download number could be inflated. Even if we assume that actual sales are 50,000 units, the number is far below what Apple and Samsung garner. Further, the fact that the company raised about $300 million at a $1 billion valuation even before selling a single phone also makes the 50,000 units largely underwhelming. However, considering that Essential is just a startup that has not done any advertising and has relied only on reviews, the sales number is not too bad. The download numbers could also suggest rising interest in the Essential Phone, which has received a few price cuts and software updates since the launch.
Presently, Essential is developing more accessories for its handset and is also working on a smart speaker called the Essential Home. The smart speaker will run on Essential’s Ambient OS, which aims to give users the best IoT experience without worrying about security. The Essential Home was expected to launch this year, but it appears that it will miss that expected release window.