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Essential lays off nearly a third of its staff

By Shawn Knight · 9 replies
Oct 17, 2018
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  1. Essential, the technology company from Android co-founder Andy Rubin, has laid off nearly a third of its staff according to a report from Bloomberg.

    Sources familiar with the matter tell the publication that most of the cuts were in the hardware and sales division. A spokesperson for the company said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg that it was a difficult decision to make, adding that they are sorry for the impact on their colleagues who are leaving and are doing everything they can to help them with their future careers.

    “We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product,” the spokesperson said.

    Essential launched its first smartphone in the summer of 2017. The handset received decent reviews but failed to really stand out from the crowd. Even with a $200 price cut, only 90,000 units were reportedly sold within the first six months.

    Some Essential customers were also hit by a phishing attempt and in November, Rubin took a leave of absence follow reports of an “inappropriate” relationship at Google. Plans for a second phone were reportedly put on hold earlier this year although last week, Bloomberg said a second phone with a heavy focus on AI was in the works.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,661   +2,415

    "Heavy focus on AI" = "we're gonna spy on you HARD to make that $$".
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    I never heard of this company before oh well.
  4. Guess the employees weren't 'Essential'
    Plutoisaplanet and Evernessince like this.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,858   +2,165

    I know someone who works for them, they say another round of lay off are already in the works if they don't hit a sales Target by the end of January Q1 2019.

    From the limited amount of information they have given me, it is my understanding that this is 90% a budget problem in their marketing department. They have a skeleton crew for marketing who are no more experienced than interns
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,900   +3,346

    Ouch, feels bad man.
    senketsu likes this.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,927   +1,196

    I looked at it, but the PRICE for a "no name" (outside of tech blogs, most never heard of Andy Rubin) at $699 was just nuts. Sales "took off" when they had a fire sale on Amazon, knocking the price down to around $300 bucks. I picked one up as a "backup" phone. I liked it so much, I made it my prime phone until this week. Too many times I was in a building with NO signal. It's a known issue with the Essential that it has either an antenna configuration or modem problem. Low/No signals from what I've been reading on XDA that t-mobile was the hardest. I use Straight Talk (at&t sim), and although with the signal meter showing 1 bar, it still appears to work. I've even had no bars, no data, but the phone part works. In my job, it's important to have a signal. Places where I had "no bars", I popped the sim into my Huawei Mate9, and had a signal.
    If they do release another device, it better have the signal issue fixed, and a MODERATELY priced phone until they "build" brand loyalty, and build up their brand.
  8. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Guru Posts: 324   +256

    This all sounds like another startup failure.

    There seems to be no way to correct this. They wanted to take aim at the high end market. The low and mid-range markets are far too competitive to get significant profits. Basically, everyone is chasing Samsung's market share for Android phones.

    It didn't work.
    p51d007 likes this.
  9. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 656   +633

    Brand allegiance is just too high in the smartphone market. Most people without a strong interest in tech only know about 5 or 6 major manufacturing brands, and don't stray from them unless there's a huge marketing campaign, combined with word-of-mouth reports. Having a OnePlus, it's amazing to me the number of people who can't identify what phone I have and just ask "Is that a Samsung"?

    No manufacturer is going to crack this market with their first offering, least of all a name that no one recognises.
  10. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,927   +1,196

    I don't know how it is in any other country, never having traveled outside of the USA, but here, people
    tend to still go to the carrier to purchase a phone. In the states, sadly, that means you are almost
    stuck with either Apple or Samsung. They might have a few other lower end models, but, if want the
    "24 month no interest financing" is has to be a carrier branded/locked/bloated/feature reduced phone.
    Apple & Samsung pretty much have a LOCK on the U.S. market, which keeps the competition OUT and the prices HIGH.

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