A market researcher claims that Essential has only sold 5,000 units of its first handset, the PH-1, through Sprint, its exclusive wireless carrier.
A couple of points before moving on to the story.
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First, I’ve never heard of BayStreet Research, which is the originator of this data. But according to the Internet, which is always right, they are a San Francisco-based market research firm that provides “smartphone, tablet, and wearables sell-through data and insights.”
Second, Essential doesn’t only distribute its phones through Sprint: In fact, I’d imagine that the majority of its sales come via direct sales from the Essential website.
That said, even if Essential sells, say, five times as many phones directly as it (allegedly) has via Sprint, this is bad news for Android founder Andy Rubin’s new company. You never want to see the word “thousand” in any report about smartphone unit sales.
So, there’s nothing about this news on the BayStreet Research website. But The Register is reporting that the firm told it about the 5,000 units figure.
“The Essential handset has only managed to move about 5,000 units,” the publication notes. “By comparison, Apple in its latest quarter managed to flog more than … 5,000 handsets every 20 minutes or so.”
I was initially excited about Essential, mostly because of what Mr. Rubin is trying to achieve. But the device itself features a lackluster camera, which puts it out of the running for me. And I can only imagine that Sprint doesn’t do a great job of promoting this product to customers.
<p>Rubin doesn't have any star power outside of tech circles, so this is just a phone by a company the general public has never heard of. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#184155"><em>In reply to mmcpher:</em></a></blockquote><p>If the original designer of Android wasn't involved we probably wouldn't have even heard of this phone. Likewise, it's unlikely the company would even be able to get sufficient funding if an unknown person started it. Investors were primarily motivated by Rubin's reputation.</p><p><br></p><p>IMO investors (and some in the tech press) were confusing software skills with system design and the ability to run a tech startup. Even the Android qualification wasn't as deep as people would assume since Rubin's original OS bears little resemblance to Android as we know it today. </p><p><br></p><p>We like to give individual people credit for innovation but more often than not, it's a team effort. Cook isn't a "superstar" pitchman, but he's not the founder of an unknown startup either.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#184266"><em>In reply to mmcpher:</em></a></blockquote><p>I don't know about Rubin, but VCs are almost always about selling the companies they invest in after they look attractive rather than investing in them for the long term.</p><p><br></p><p>I think Rubin has had trouble clearly expressing how his company's approach to Android is different from everybody else's.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#184359"><em>In reply to jdmp10:</em></a></blockquote><p>There have been modular options for awhile now and smartphone ecosystems have existed for quite some time as well. Perhaps Rubin has a different take on these features, but the concepts aren't new.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#184362"><em>In reply to jdmp10:</em></a></blockquote><p>Fair enough.</p>
<p> This isn't surprising at all. Not.At.All.The reason is because Andy Rubin, or the people behind Essential, hardly ever marketed this phone. The only people who know about this phone are Android faithfuls, who are very familiar with Andy Rubin.</p><p><br></p><p> In this mobile market, you clearly have to market and advertise the phone. Android took off and started making waves against iPhone happened when Verizon went bonkers advertising "Droid." LOL…even to this day, I still hear the word Droid in the conversation when it comes to mobile phones….mostly from elderly people though. </p><p><br></p><p>The good news is, that this isn't a rejection of the phone, as is the case with Windows Phone. With Windows Phone, Microsoft marketed that phone like crazy! The did so with funny commercials (wedding), celebrity endorsements (Gwen Stefani), in-place advertisements in tv shows (Dallas, Elementary, and more) and no one bought into it.</p><p><br></p><p>The great thing about Android, is that there are a number of flagship phones to choose from. Alot of those phonemakers do little to no marketing either. Makers such as One Plus, Nextbit Robin, (even) Sony,…I wonder what their marketshare within the Android smartphone space is. All in all, I wouldn't call this a defeat for Essential, just a call for a more sound market strategy.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#184363"><em>In reply to Mike2thel73:</em></a></blockquote><p>Nice teletype.</p>