Essential promises a new phone release date 'in a week'

Photo by Asa Mathat / Recode

It’s been a few weeks since Essential CEO Andy Rubin told us that the Essential Phone would be coming “in a few weeks,” but today the company gave yet another (albeit slightly more specific) timeline, saying it would reveal the release date “in a week.” That’s nearly two months after the company initially said that the phone would begin shipping some time in June.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Essential president Niccolo De Masi also confirmed that the $699 Android device with an edge-to-edge display would be available via major US retailers Best Buy and Amazon. The Essential is expected to launch as a Sprint exclusive, with Telus as its Canada partner and more international carriers to be announced at a later date.

“If we are able to sell low single digit millions [in the first year], that’s very successful for a startup,” De Masi optimistically told WSJ. The Essential’s launch, if it indeed arrives within the month, puts it at an inopportune time before Apple and Google’s announcements for the upcoming iPhone 8 and Pixel 2, respectively, which have historically taken place in September and October.

De Masi did not provide further details on the release of the Essential Home, the company’s “privacy-first” Amazon Echo competitor that will have its own smart assistant OS.

Update August 9th, 3:40PM ET: This article has been updated to add Andy Rubin’s tweet on “full mass production.”

Comments

Here is one for more variety and some more competition!

This phone wont have the brand appeal or marketing that iPhone users go for though.

Essential is only going to hurt other small android oems imo.

Pixel phones and Samsung phones are really the only threats to Apple (In the western world anyway).

Pixel phones a threat to Apple?

Every new Android phone comes with built-in hope of being the next "iPhone killer". They should list it as a feature.

Threat definitely isn’t the best word to use but they’re really the only 2 that can realistically and legitimately bite into Apple’s marketshare.

Essential better get their act together. If the new Pixel XL is as advertised and comes out earlier, I wouldn’t give this a second look.

"as advertised" as in huge bezels and no headphone jack?

I doubt they’re going to sell "low single digit" hundreds of thousands, let alone millions.

These guys must live in an alternate universe or something, where there aren’t hundreds of good Android phones vying for people’s money and attention.

Agreed, his statement borders on delusional which is how I classify the idea that the company will survive 2018. But hey, stranger thinks have happened [eyes the White House].

I think they’re vastly overestimating how many people actually know Andy Rubin. Best I can tell, this is going to appear like another LeEco to the general public, just popping up out of nowhere, oddly pretending like they’ve been here all along.

Maybe they know something that we don’t know? For example:

  • shipping before and having a price that comes in less than the iPhone 8/Pixel 2
  • 360° cameras becoming a thing
  • supported by a major marketing blitz including the Amazon.com home page (since AMZ was reported today to be an investor)

But you’re probably right.

You are very right. This seems really delusional. I wonder what makes them think they are such a smashhit? Because their focus groups show them how millions of people are craving for displays with circular cutouts?
If an average non-techie consumer spends 700$ on a phone (and those are the customers you need if you want to sell millions of phones) then they are usually either iPhones or Samsung-flagships. There is nearly nothing else on the market that has the brand recognition to push phones with that price tag. And certainly not some newcomer no one never heard off.

Did Microsoft license its Soon trademark to Essential? I haven’t seen anything official, but it seems likely.

I’m looking forward to the reviews. You’d think a new company with a new device so close to release would be getting review units out there. Times must be bad.

Having this little control, or even knowledge, over production means some things have gone very wrong.

maybe he should have launched via kickstarter

Essential Fail – this phone will bomb faster than (insert sarcastic description here)

the note 7. you said bomb.

I have learned something as an entrepreneur (and as yet, never done what Essential have done), you never pre-announce something, unless you’re so big and hunky (Apple, Microsoft etc) and have a prior reputation for product delivery dates. Yes, it’s very exciting to have something cool in the wings, and you’re bursting to tell the world, but if you have filed your IP, kept a paper trial, taken photos, shot vlogs of development and so on, then you’ll have proof you were first with whatever it is you’re doing.

It is way better to surprise everyone. Consider the awesome Air Pods. NO ONE saw them coming! They were another Apple ‘one last thing’ product, full of nifty yet useful innovations – that worked too!

Yup, Essential have a credible team, but they are developing a product that costs no less than $3m just to prototype, and then you have all the other devices in development or due for launch, like the Note8, that is going to be massive, because it’s useful rather than gimmicky.

I do hope Essential produce something amazing that works, because there has been so little genuine innovation since the original iPhone (Symbian spawned many innovative phones, such as the Sony Ericsson PX00 series, Motorola smart phones, Nokia 9000 series etc), other than from LG with the Flex, G3 (wireless charging), G5 (wide angle lens) etc, Moto Z (modules), Nexus 5 and Samsung Note series.

If they unveiled the Essential now they would not have been first to show their hand and thus got some sort of media splash.

If they unveiled the same device today after all the other device leaks and unveils, it would drown anonymously.

They had to head off the competition, but I do understand what you’re saying. I just think the market is too competitive for them to have missed their time in the limelight and build a brand for investors to get behind.

Would Amazon have invested if the device hadn’t been shown? I doubt it.

Had they revealed too late, they would be called copycats by some of the clueless folks that roam these parts.

Then again, in "the real world", outside of tech blogs, the average consumer doesn’t give two shits about who copied whom or what first or not.

Do you consider courts to be part of "the real world"? Because they definitely give two shits.

I am talking about consumers. Even if courts fine companies billions of dollars consumers don’t give a crap.

I’m smelling a lot if coming off this plan.

So what is the thing that is supposed to change the Smartphone market again?

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