Essential knew it had a hard road ahead of it. Andy Rubin and company acknowledged as much when they launched a handset aimed at taking on the likes of Apple and Samsung. Given that the company hasnt issued anything in the way of official numbers thus far, a new batch of numbers from IDC are the best we have to go on at the moment — and things dont look great for the products first half-year. A tweet posted by research director Francisco Jeronimo puts the companys total shipping at 88,000 units for 2017. We reached out to Essential about the report, but the company wouldnt comment as is its policy with outside reports. When I spoke to the companys president and COO Niccolo de Masi the day the phone was launched, he called the handset a long-term play, speaking in terms of a decades worth of development to reach the heights of the big names. Of course, he also framed things relative to the first Google Pixel, noting that the handset was a bomb compared to Apple and Samsung — though that phones reported sales number was around 2.5 million. . @Arubin's @essential smartphone is still a long way from becoming a successful venture. In 2017, it shipped less than 90K units (first six months after launch) We will effectively run a similar growth trajectory probably to what you saw with Apples approach to the iPhone, he added at the time. They sold a million in the first year. Not because there wasnt demand for more, but because they couldnt build more than that when it came to capacitive touch-resistant screens. If those were, indeed, the benchmarks for the companys planned first year of sales, 88,000 is a drop in the bucket. And even with the long runway, the company afforded itself being tied to the man who invented Android, its hard to imagine investors being thrilled by this sort of estimate. Essential hasnt talked numbers yet — no surprise, really for a young company. But early reports were low, a fact seemingly confirmed by the companys decision to slash prices in October. At the time, Darrell called the phone the best deal in smartphones, but a $200 drop soon after launch wasnt exactly a vote of confidence in the brand. We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, the company wrote at the time of the drop, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us. The notion of cutting out advertising in order to pass the savings along to the consumer is a noble one, but word of mouth isnt exactly a reliable launch pad for a mainstream consumer product. The company confirmed a total of $330 million back in August, which should give it wiggle room, especially given the importance the companys executives place on couching expectations early on. Its easy to forget that Android got off to a pretty slow start as well, given how wildly successful the mobile operating system has become. Aside from some software updates, however, things have been pretty quiet on the Essential front. The companys Hub smart home device has been largely MIA since it was first announced alongside the phone.
Essential, Android co-founder Andy Rubins new smartphone venture, had a rough go of it last year trying to get off the ground with a brand-new flagship handset. Not only did the device face some serious launch delays, but industry research firm IDC is now reporting that Essential sold fewer than 90,000 units in its first six months on the market. Francisco Jeronimo, IDCs research director, tweeted out the stat this morning, writing that the device is still a long way from becoming a successful venture. No one reasonably expected Rubins new smartphone company to go head-to-head with Apple or Samsung anytime soon (or ever for that matter). But 88,000 units, which is the exact figure IDC reports for Essential Phone sales in 2017, is still quite low and illustrates the uphill battle Rubin is fighting by launching a new phone in a mature, high-end market dominated by some of the worlds largest and most well-equipped corporations. Essential is effectively a startup, and although it has some of the best expertise in the business alongside Rubins reputation, the company may not be able to weather the storm as it slashes costs on the Essential Phone and gears up to inevitably try and launch a successor. The device itself is now $499 after some aggressive cost-cutting and a temporary $399 Cyber Monday deal, suggesting Essentials margins may be razor-thin at this point as it tries to get more units out into the wild. How long the company continues down this path is up in the air, but the phone is still receiving camera updates, and an eventual Android 8.1 Oreo update is coming soon.