Why Essen­tial Phones Only Sold 5000 Units and Does it Matter


Andy Rubin’s much-anticipated Essential PH-1 devices that were first announced in January 2017, unveiled in May, and finally started shipping last month and now according to estimates, the company has only sold 5,000 devices until now via Sprint in USA.

According to estimates from research firm BayStreet, the $699 Essential smartphones were bought only about 5,000 times by customers in USA from the partner telecom carrier Sprint.

While the estimated number is quite low, Essential’s sales might have dropped due to two major smartphone manufacturers — Samsung and Apple — unveiling their flagship Galaxy Note8 and iPhone X (and two other iPhones) devices.

Why Don’t these Low Sales Number Matter?

While 5,000 units is nothing compared to the millions of flagship devices both Apple and Samsung sell globally, there are other factors that need to be taken into account before jumping to conclusions about one of the top-rated startups of the year.

Essential website seems to have been hacked as customers receive phishing email

Sprint isn’t the Sole Seller

The research firm only takes into account Essential smartphones being sold along with Sprint carrier, which happens to be a not-so-popular choice among users.

In USA, users get two options to purchase the Essential smartphone. They can either opt to pay the full price of $699 or the ‘Sprint Flex 18-month lease’.

The lease needs the user to pay $29.17 monthly and at the end of the 18 month period they have the option to either exchange the device for a new device on lease or take full ownership of the device by paying the balance sum.

But an unlocked version of the Essential PH-1 is also available in the market. Sales of these devices haven’t been accounted in the report.

Essential has to go Global Before it can be Written Off

Other than that, Essential is still only selling its smartphone in USA and Canada — which hasn’t been accounted for either. US market is not an apt yardstick to measure prospective sales for the device in other regions globally.

In Canada, users can either buy the device from Telus using the two available pricing options.

The first option needs the user to pay $295 up-front and then start with a two-year Premium Plus plan starting at $95 per month. The second option needs the user to pay $490 up-front and then start with a two-year Premium Smartphone plan starting at $85 per month.

Essential is still a new player in the smartphone market and has taken a bold step with the modular design in its first PH-1 smartphone device.

It might or might not pay off for the company globally, but until that happens, passing judgment over the success or failure of the reported $1.2 billion-worth company’s device is inconsequential.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.