Unsurprisingly, the Essential Phone has only sold 50,000 units
Are we putting too much trust in small unproven companies?
The Essential Phone (PH-1, technically) was an interesting device: almost bezel-less, first one to sport a notch, modularity, etc. It was a breath of fresh air, where every phone kinda looked the same. Andy Rubin, the father of Android started Essential and that got a lot of people excited about what the company had to offer in the future. However, things never really took off for the company. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the Essential story…
On paper, the Essential phone matched every 2017 flagship, with a few extras. But a price tag of $700 would never be accepted from a new company, especially with the OnePlus 5T around. That pricing was the single biggest reason why the PH1 didn’t sell too well, because for a little more price, you could grab something like the Pixel 2, one of the most perfect phones this time. Thankfully, a few months later, they got to their senses and dropped the price to a more digestible $500, and was available for less than $400 during Black Friday (That deal could come back during the holiday season) which makes it the best budget recommendation around. The minor glitches have all been resolved, and the camera is way better now, making it a much better package. We hope that the company understands the market better and takes care the next time. In their worst phase, there were also reports of Andy leaving the company, but those have been taken care of.
The PH-1 launched in May at a price tag of $700, which is strictly flagship territory pricing. Irrespective of the pricing, there have been very few companies who have been able to make a name for themselves in the last few years (except for OnePlus) which meant there was already a lot of pressure on their shoulders to perform. But why does a company who’s been in existence only for a few months, have so many people vouching for it? The answer is the amount of trust and confidence vested in the founder, Andy Rubin.
The company is hardly a year old, with 1 product on the market that is performing underwhelmingly, yet it is valued at Billions. The pieces don’t fit, right? I think there was a definite sprinkle of overconfidence here. Before we dig deeper, here’s how we figured out the shipment of 50,000 units, sourced from AndroidPolice:
You might be wondering how we could come to the conclusion that the download figures for this app could lead to production figures. Well, the Essential Phone is the only phone that is capable of downloading the Essential Camera app via the Play Store, hence the assumption. The Play Store counts installs by the “(t)otal number of unique users who have ever installed this app on one or more of their devices. Only one install is counted per user, regardless of how many different devices they installed it on. Includes users who uninstalled the app later.”
Of course, it’s not the most accurate way of reaching the number, as you have second-hand devices, double sign-ins, and custom ROMs, but that shouldn’t skew the figure by a lot. But the point being that people created a lot of expectations from an unproven company, too much trust on a software developer, and a lack of consideration of the competition.