Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone is available for reservation directly from the company’s website, with the product shipping sometime later this month. In addition, the company has just announced that American wireless carrier Sprint will be the exclusive U.S. carrier if you plan to get the phone on contract.
Sprint is not the largest carrier in the U.S. The company still trails behind Verizon, AT&T, and most recently T-Mobile in subscribers. USA Today asked Essential’s President Nicolo de Masi about teaming up with the fourth largest carrier in the U.S.
“I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.
It’s certainly conscious for us to work with partners that can make an investment in supporting our brand ambitions…(and) it’s an approach that obviously Andy Rubin has been very successful with in the past as well as a lot of our management team.”
Presumably, one of the reasons behind this move is Andy Rubin’s relationship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. The Japanese company owns 83 percent of Sprint and Rubin is an advisor to the SoftBank Vision Fund.
Teaming up with Sprint is a strategic move. Essential’s CEO states that most of the phones sold in the U.S. are purchased at retail stores, which lines up with market estimates and makes sense given the customer has a chance to touch and feel the phone before buying.
Finally, Sprint will offer a “premium space” to showcase the Essential Phone in its stores. The carrier also plans to run an advertisement campaign and give the device a “hero launch”. Though Sprint will be selling the phone, the device will not carry Sprint’s or any other company logo.
The Essential Phone will start shipping out to customers by the end of the month. It costs $699 for the unlocked model but for $50 extra users can opt to get a 360 degree accessory camera. There is no mention of when customers will be able to pick up the device from Sprint’s retail store. We should have more details soon.
Source: USA Today