Essential recently slashed down the Essential PH-1 by $200, going from $699 to $499. That's after just about two months since the phone started rolling out.
From the consumer's perspective, that's good news — it's more affordable and accessible, and the savings can be used toward the Essential 360 Camera for a complete experience or another Essential smartphone, which also applies to early adopters in the form of the $200 Friends & Family code.
However, that $200 price drop is a clear sign that Essential is facing some tough times, even though the company is covering them up by saying it's just making the phone easier to get for customers instead of forking over the cash for a "massive TV campaign to capture your attention."
Arguably the main reason Essential had to cut the Essential PH-1's price is poor sales performance. According to research company BayStreet (via FierceWireless), the smartphone maker is estimated to have sold only 5,000 units by the end of September.
That said, here are the factors that more or less doomed the company.
Essential couldn't quite launch the Essential PH-1 on time, running into delay after delay. At first, it promised that the phone will hit the shelves before June ends, but that didn't work out. In the end, it pushed out the device sometime in August.
That's just bad timing because by then Samsung and Apple, the two top dogs of the smartphone game, have been preparing to take the market by storm with the Galaxy Note 8 in the former's case and the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in the latter's.
Put simply, the competition was way too hot for a startup to make a big splash in, where it was overshadowed by longtime players.
Price More Important Than Niceties
The Essential PH-1's original $699 price was just too much, not to mention that the huge hype surrounding it died down because of the aforementioned delays, which could have compelled more consumers to buy the phone if that didn't happen.
Now that price point is almost on the same level as top-of-the-line devices such as the Galaxy S8, but from the look of things, the phone's qualities and features weren't enough to convince buyers to get on board and skip over the other flagships in the market.
One notable example of a startup that was capable of going toe-to-toe with well-known manufacturers and establish a user base is OnePlus. How it managed to pull that off is no secret. It sold phones packing high-end specs such as the OnePlus 5 at significantly lower costs compared with those among the current brood, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise they appealed to power users.
In other words, even though the Essential PH-1 had all the right stuff to be on par with most top-end phones, it just couldn't justify its high price point.
One more problem with the Essential PH-1 is its limited availability, as it's exclusive to Sprint. This doesn't need much of an explanation, but that definitely cuts down potential sales.
The Unintentional Phishing Issue
As the Essential PH-1 was rolling out, Essential made a huge mistake by inadvertently phishing its customers, which is enough reason for them to lose confidence in the company.
To quickly recap, what happened was that Essential sent out an email to everyone who preordered its phone, and it asked for their personal info to complete their orders. However, it unintentionally CC'd numerous customers, some of which unknowingly sent their personal details to other buyers.
Long story short, it seems that Essential had to drop the Essential PH-1's price by $200 because of poor sales, which can be attributed to delays, a high initial cost, an unfortunate phishing issue, and limited availability.