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Discounts and holiday sales haven’t helped the Essential Phone

by Justin Herrick | December 13, 2017December 13, 2017 9:00 am PST

Not even a steal of a price is helping Essential increase sales to a reasonable level.

Leading up to its announcement, the Essential Phone was hyped because it was coming from a company headed by Android’s co-founder. But the Andy Rubin-led startup turned out shipping a dud. The Essential Phone was plagued a by number of issues including countless delays and an underwhelming camera. And the Essential Phone was far too expensive, especially considering all the problems.

It’s no surprise to hear that Essential hasn’t sold many units since releasing its first product in late August. Only 50,000 units of the Essential Phone appear to have been sold in four months of availability.

Essential itself hasn’t shared a sales figure, but the source is trusted and might even be slightly inflating the number favorably.

Revealing the Essential Phone’s struggles is, believe it or not, Google Play. The digital store for Android devices is home to many apps, and one of them is Essential’s Camera app. Rather than making it a system-based item, the company’s Camera app lives on the Play Store to receive quick updates. Its presence there also tells everyone how many people have installed the app.

The current estimate on the Play Store puts the estimate of installs for the Essential Phone’s Camera app on 50,000 to 100,000. Now, before you start saying that’s far too low, considering the guidelines set by Google. The Play Store counts one install per user no matter how many devices they’ve installed a single app on. And, until recently, the Camera app sat below 50,000 installs. With that said, it’s a very accurate estimate of where the Essential Phone stands as it’s the sole product in the world compatible with the app.

Last time we heard anything about the number of units sold was in September. After about a month on the market, one research firm claimed Essential shipped a meager 5,000 units. That might’ve been limited to what Sprint, the Essential Phone’s exclusive carrier, received in the opening weeks.

Any way you look at it, the Essential Phone is a disappointment. The company had an opportunity to insert itself in the conversation for best flagship, but Essential couldn’t release the product on time and ran into software-based issues. From a hardware standpoint, the Essential Phone is stunning. But you need both hardware and software to come together to be successful.

Essential has tried to make things right through software updates and price drops. It’s rolled out several improvements for the operating system and camera, and during the holidays there have been deals popping up repeatedly. The Essential Phone was priced at $399 on Cyber Monday.

The company does still plan on releasing a successor to the Essential Phone in 2018.

Android Police

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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