Last year, Essential burst onto the scene with the promise of shattering the status quo. Reality is a lot harsher.
According to industry research firm IDC, Essential sold a paltry 88,000 units of its first smartphone during the first six months. The number is a sobering reminder of how hard it is jump into the high-end smartphone market, because the Essential Phone is actually a great device. But that doesn’t cut it when you go head to head with Apple and Samsung.
For comparison, Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in Q1 of 2018.
Essential didn’t do itself any favors. The release was mired with delays, while camera problems cast a dark cloud. And all this came with a hefty $700 price tag.
Once Essential realized how dire the situation was, it slashed the price down to $499, but by then the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 were luring in customers by the droves. Interestingly, IDC’s report doesn’t breakdown what number of the sales came before and after the price cut. There’s a chance the numbers would have looked worse if Essential hadn’t permanently discounted its smartphone.
It’s unfair to compare the Essential Phone with the iPhone, a perfected product consumers are very aware of, but that’s the measuring stick when you offer a smartphone that’s in a similar price range.
Despite a rocky launch, Essential has been busy with continued support for the Essential Phone, with the release of Android 8.1 Oreo on the horizon.