Besides a widespread complaint about the quality of pictures it takes, the Essential Phone has otherwise received phenomenal reviews. Its design, overall build quality, and stock Android operating system have all received merits, and frankly, its approach to the "notch" looks far more polished than the iPhone X's monstrosity.
However, people didn't care enough about Andy Rubin's phone, a new report suggests.
Is The Essential Phone A Flop?
Only 5,000 units of the handset have been sold so far, according to an estimate from BayStreet Research. That means, while things could change, it most certainly is a flop by current standards. That sales estimate is disappointing, and it highlights just how difficult it is for startups to break into the smartphone market, even if that startup has the cofounder of Android at its helm.
But wait a second, the Essential Phone certainly got the hype. Back when Rubin tweeted a picture of what looked like a bezel-less phone, many people went nuts. Him being the cofounder of Android also helped, as it meant that the phone would be made by a person who knew how phones should work.
The Essential Phone had pretty good coverage. Major publications the likes of The Verge, Wired, and Ars Technica wrote about it, often even extensively. They got the word out that a new phone was coming, made by someone who had a hand in developing Android, and it would be a breath of fresh air.
It, however, only managed to sell 5,000 units — for now, at least. What went wrong? Well, looking into it more deeply, it starts to make sense.
Why The Essential Phone Undersold
First teased in March then officially announced in May, the phone failed to reach shelves until September. In that span of time, the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, HTC U11, and other pretty excellent phones have all been released. Android Authority posits that a strong launch depends on three key aspects: availability, quality, and hype.
Essential managed to deliver those three aspects, but with handicaps.
First, availability: In May, Rubin said the phone would launch in a month. That didn't happen. Then in July, he said it would launch "in a matter of weeks." Didn't happen again. Then in August, the phone did start shipping, but it took until September before it showed up on Sprint, where it's exclusively available at.
Third, hype: There was hype initially, but when the delays started happening, customers grew wary of the phone. Its hype eventually decreased, which could also be a result of the sheer number of hyped-about phones that come out each year.
So, did the Essential Phone fail because of these factors? It's hard to say. In fact, maybe it has not failed. Maybe this is just a rocky first try for the company, which is valued at $1.2 billion.
What do you think? Did Essential screw it up? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!