There was a lot of interest surrounding the Essential smartphone in the runup to its release. But even with Android co-creator Andy Rubin’s involvement, most of the handset’s reviews vary from average to pretty good. Now, less than two months after launch, the phone’s price has been cut by $200 to $499.
In an attempt to placate those who bought the Essential at its full price just a few weeks ago, the company is offering early purchasers $200 worth of “friends and family” credit. This can be put toward the cost of buying another device, or used to buy the 360-degree camera attachment. To redeem the credit on Essential’s page, customers must use their phone’s IMEI and serial numbers, as well as the email address they used to purchase the handset.
Last month brought news that Sprint, the exclusive carrier of the Essential phone, had only sold an estimated 5000 units. That figure doesn’t cover sales of unlocked versions, but it will have still been a huge disappointment to the company.
It’s easy to imagine that the price drop is a response to those numbers, but Essential claims that the low cost and word of mouth are more effective than “a massive TV campaign to capture your attention.”
“We think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us,” writes the company.
It may not be able to compete with the high-end flagships, even with its updated camera software, but a $499 price tag now makes the Essential one of the best 'value for money' smartphones on the market, and will likely help boost sales of the handset.