Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone recently debuted as a stock Android handset with small bezels, a ceramic and titanium body, and a $699 price tag. Essential has begun taking reservations for unlocked models of the device, but it’s been unclear up to now as to whether any U.S. carriers would sell the phone. Now, as reported by USA Today and confirmed by Essential on Twitter, we’re hearing that Sprint will be the Essential Phone’s exclusive carrier.
That’s not to say the phone won’t work elsewhere. You can take unlocked models of the device to other carriers and the Essential Phone will work fine since it includes all necessary bands. But Essential needs to get the word out, and I suppose through Sprint is their way of doing things.
— Essential (@essential) June 12, 2017
Of course, they could’ve chosen AT&T or Verizon to carry the device and deliver it to a potentially larger crowd, but Essential chose Sprint, according to USA Today, due to Rubin having a relationship with SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, a man who’s company has an 83% stake in Sprint. But this still presents the argument as to whether Sprint was the right choice or not. I mean, Sprint likes to load up their exclusive devices will a ton of bloatware, something Rubin is trying to avoid with the Essential Phone. The carrier is also the fourth largest in the U.S. Why not go all the way to the top and approach AT&T or Verizon?
To me, it just seems like Essential kind of copped out here. Just because Rubin and Son are buddies doesn’t mean you should bring your work to a carrier that, arguably, doesn’t offer the quality as others. Still, Sprint will market this phone like crazy anyway, so it’ll be interesting to see how many Essentials we see around town in the near future.