When Android founder Andy Rubin launched Essential earlier this year, it was a business full of promise. The fledgling company had all the pedigree in the world — Rubin’s first consumer tech move since leaving Google — and it debuted with some slick-looking devices that looked to shake up the market.
A research firm estimates that Essential has sold just 5,000 of its namesake smartphones since pre-orders opened on August 17th. Those are numbers that would make even Blackberry weep, and they’re bad enough to question if the $1.2 billion company is going to be around next year.
The Essential phone has actually done well in other retail channels. It’s available through Amazon, Best Buy, and Essential’s own website. Other, far more successful Android phones like OnePlus have sold far more devices with far less exposure.
Now that the price of the Essential Phone itself has dropped to $499, you’re looking at less than $700 for a complete streaming setup. Is there a huge audience for this? Probably not but now, you can walk into Sprint and lease the Essential Phone for just $6 per month on an 18-month Flex lease plan from Sprint.