In the first half, the world saw the emergence of Essential, a new hardware company led by Andy Rubin, an executive who was notable for creating the Android operating system. The company’s first major product, the Essential Phone had a flashy launch, but failed to convert that attention into sales.
Essential has sold only 88,000 of its handset in six months on the market in the period between July and the end of 2017, which is a horrible figure for a company that produces hardware and has to deal with high production costs . For comparison, the new Nokia, whose brand is controlled by HMD Global, had 4.4 million units sold throughout the year and is far from a great success. LG Mobile, meanwhile, managed to sell 13.7 million handsets in three months and ended the period with a millionaire loss.
— Francisco Jeronimo (@fjeronimo) 12 de fevereiro de 2018
It was already expected that the number of units sold would not be very high. Launched for $ 700, the device, brand unknown to the public, aimed to steal public from the iPhone and the Galaxy S8, which proved unfeasible so far. Essential tried to enter a market that is quite matured and split practically only by Apple and Samsung. All other brands fight for crumbs, and most take losses with their smartphone division.
From a critical point of view, the cell phone had a mixed reception. The reviews praised the device’s construction, speed and bet on pure Android, but criticized price and camera. Consumers focused on the latest features, forcing the company to announce a drastic reduction in the suggested price after three months, which dropped from $ 700 to $ 500. The company still came to realize a new price cut to $ 400 offering a 360 ° camera as a free accessory during Black Friday, which was already clear: the smartphone was stranded.
With a little more brand strength, this price should be enough to move much more units than just 88,000. After all, the price went from being defective and became an advantage and the camera was improving with software updates, but that was not what we saw.
Now it’s waiting to see if the company maintains its strategy this year with a second generation Essential Phone. Will the device exist? If it exists, will it bet on the same price range to boast giants as a new iPhone and the Galaxy S9? What can the device display again to try to distinguish itself from the others?