If you have had your eyes on Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone, we might have some bad news to bring you this morning. It is being reported that the Essential Phone will launch as a carrier-exclusive for fourth-place U.S. wireless carrier Sprint.
Now before you get your pitchforks out, let us remember that you can still purchase the Essential Phone direct from Essential, and it will work on all four major wireless carriers. However, for those that don’t want to drop $700 on a brand-new smartphone all at once, your only bet is to get one from Sprint where you will be able to take advantage of any special pricing offers and installment plans to pay the device off over the course of 24 months.
Most smartphones are purchased at retail stores, and the only place that you’ll be able to get your hands on an Essential Phone before purchasing will be at an official Sprint retail store (or an authorized Sprint retailer).
“We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was,” remarked Essential President Niccolo de Masi. “I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.”
Interestingly, this plays right into Rubin’s train of thought with regards to the Essential Phone and taking on industry heavyweights like Apple and Samsung. “I think when there's this duopoly with these two guys owning 40 percent of the market, this complacency sets in,” said Rubin earlier this month at the Wired conference. “And that's the perfect time to start a company with this. Some people are complacent and it needs to be disrupted.”
However, it remains to be seen if Sprint is the network of the future. T-Mobile has already whizzed past Sprint to become the third-place U.S. wireless carrier and by all accounts looks to have the most going for it with regards to innovation, interesting promotions and attractively-priced plans for customers. And more importantly, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been incredibly vocal about breaking up the Verizon-AT&T duopoly in the U.S. wireless market.