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Andy Rubin's Essential Phone Will Be Sprint Exclusive In US, But Why?

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone will apparently be exclusive to just one carrier in the United States: Sprint.

Android co-creator Andy Rubin unveiled the highly promising Essential Phone earlier this month, and the device is currently available for preorder. The handset sports a sleek design and high-end specs and features, but the carrier exclusivity might limit its success.

Many consumers choose to purchase carrier versions of smartphones to get them subsidized rather than paying the whole price outright. Most flagships are available on all major carriers so that customers have plenty of choices, but that won't be the case with the Essential Phone.

Essential Phone Exclusive To Sprint: Why?

It seems that Sprint has scored some sweet exclusivity deals this year and after grabbing the HTC U11, it has now secured the Essential Phone too. Sprint is the fourth largest carrier in the United States, so why did Essential go down this path rather than team up with a larger carrier?

News of the Essential Phone's Sprint exclusivity comes from USA Today, which got a statement from Essential President Niccolo de Masi. Asked about the company's decision to have Sprint as the exclusive carrier, the executive explained that Essential is looking ahead, at the bigger picture.

The Network Of The Future

"We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was," he says. "I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future."

In other words, Essential thinks Sprint will gain ground in the next few years, taking a bigger hold of the market and potentially outpacing its rivals.

This carrier exclusivity, however, is not as limiting as it may sound. First off, interested customers who can afford to purchase the smartphone unlocked can get it without any ties. Secondly, those who choose to get the Sprint-locked variant will still be able to use the handset on other carriers as well, as the Essential Phone has enough radio to play nice with all networks. The Sprint version of the smartphone will not feature any Sprint logos or branding.

Essential Phone Specs And Price

As a reminder, the Essential Phone features a 5.7-inch display with an odd resolution of 2,560 x 1,312 pixels, taking up the whole front panel of the device and neatly wrapping around the front camera.

The smartphone packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor under the hood, paired with 4 GB of RAM that should ensure a fast and smooth performance. Other specs include 128 GB of storage space, a 13-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel selfie cam, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a 3,040 mAh battery.

The Essential Phone costs $699 unlocked, or $749 when bundled with the company's 360-degree camera that comes as a modular accessory attachable to the smartphone. Interested customers can reserve the Essential Phone on the company's website, but no specific details are available yet as to when it will actually start shipping and hit store shelves.

Sprint is expected to offer more details about the Essential Phone soon enough, since it's the exclusive carrier. As always, we'll keep you up to date as soon as we learn more.

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