Before Andy Rubin got around to announcing his latest smartphone endeavor, there was already plenty of hype going into it. The first early reports of the phone itself envisioned a new push into artificial intelligence, and basically a hub for all of the other smart things in the owner’s life. And then Rubin teased the phone itself in a creative image, which indicated the handset would have very minimal bezels, and probably an eye-catching design as a result.
The end result is certainly lofty. Rubin has goals for his new company, Essential, and their first smartphone, aptly named the Essential Phone, is a solid shot over the bow of all other smartphone manufacturers. There’s a new challenger on the scene, and while it might not disrupt the giants right out of the gate, options for customers are always a good thing.
Especially when the handset in question isn’t tied down to any one carrier.
I’ve already asked if you think the Essential Phone needs a carrier’s support to succeed, and the vast majority of you said that it did. While being widely available through a digital storefront is great, and being unlocked is automatically another bonus, simply being available to buy isn’t good enough. Many customers want to see it in their carrier store, touch it, use it, before they decide on whether or not they want to buy it.
I agree with that sentiment. We’ve already seen over many years what happens when a phone is only available as an online purchase. It simply just doesn’t make a dent. So carrier support is essential (that was inevitable), and today Essential’s president confirmed that the new phone will boast at least one carrier’s blessing: Sprint.
Sprint is going to be the exclusive home for the Essential Phone, and while some might make an argument for the company choosing basically any of the other carriers, there’s not really any reason to wonder why Essential went this route: Andy Rubin and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son are friends, and SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint…
But honestly, I’m just glad to see it happening at all. Now people can go into a store and try it out, see if it’s to their liking, before they buy it from Sprint or if they go back home and order it there. Obviously Sprint would like it if you’d just sign up for the Now Network and get that Essential Phone, but either result works out in Essential’s favor.
So, the Essential Phone has a carrier’s support — will it matter to you? If you’re not on the Sprint network but are excited for the new smartphone, will you switch carriers to get it? Or will you go into a Sprint store, at least, to check it out before you pull the trigger on a purchase? Let me know!