The Essential Phone is nearing shipment, and today company founder Andy Rubin published a blog post clearly meant to make customers feel confident with buying into a completely new and unproven electronics brand. He laid out Essential’s principles and pledges, which include providing the $700 phone with two years of Android software updates and three of security patches. That’s on par with Google’s plans for the Pixel line. Rubin makes no mention of how quickly those will come when a new Android version is released, however.
Essential Phone owners can also expect new wireless accessories — the first of which is the 360-degree camera — “every few months.” So far, all we’ve seen are the camera and a docking station.
“At Essential, we are up against industry giants that employ tens of thousands of workers to develop and deploy smartphones around the world,” Rubin wrote. “There is a significant advantage to that kind of scale, but we also know that when a company gets to a certain size, the desire to create a customer-first experience sometimes takes a back seat to other considerations, like profits and corporate agendas.”
Rubin’s blog post points to the Essential Phone’s materials (titanium and ceramic), simplicity (there’s no branding or logo anywhere), and future-proofing (128GB storage) as reasons that customers can feel good about investing in the device. He also takes shots at competitors at various points. One is a clear poke at Samsung:
You buy their phone, TV, speaker, and fridge with the promise of simplicity, but more and more often, this is a way to force loyalty.
And there’s also a shot at Apple’s iPhone-only apps:
Why limit who you can talk to by sticking to Facetime while there are so many alternatives out there — from WhatsApp to WeChat — that work across a wide range of mobile and desktop devices.
Rubin claims that the Essential Phone is available “starting today” from Essential’s website, Sprint, and Best Buy. But it seems to be a soft, ongoing launch; Sprint estimates the phone to ship “within a few weeks.” It’s anyone’s guess when you’ll be able to walk into a Best Buy store and get one.