Anticipation is building for the release of the Essential Phone. Andy Rubin's newest creation is expected to be loaded with features like a rear fingerprint reader, attachable 360-degree camera, and an edge-to-edge display. However, a news release from Sprint has just revealed that it may take more than $700 to get your hands on the Essential Phone. The release revealed that the Essential Phone will be exclusively carried by Sprint, so it might be time to switch your wireless carrier.
Previous reports stated that the Essential Phone would be compatible with Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. The company's support page still states that Essential Phones purchased on the company's website will be unlocked and thus work with any carrier, so it's possible that customers can still look forward to using the phone on the network of their choice. For now, it has only been confirmed that the Essential Phone will be fully functional with Sprint.
The president of Essential — Niccolo de Masi — shared the company's motives behind this partnership with USA Today.
We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was. I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.
Sprint is currently the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier. With large expansions and efforts planned to reclaim the third-place ranking it lost to T-Mobile, we can expect big changes from Sprint. This commitment to advancement may have aided in the development of this relationship. It's also speculated that Essential CEO Andy Rubin's close friendship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son played a large role in the relationship between Essential and Sprint. SoftBank — a Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation — owns 83% of Sprint. Moreover, Rubin serves as an advisor to the SoftBank Vision Fund. It seems that the success of SoftBank — and Sprint by extension — would be of large importance to Rubin.
Rubin has described the Essential Phone as exclusive, stating that Essential has no intention of mass-producing the phone. Churning out phones made with titanium and ceramic would prove to be difficult for the small, newly emerging company. As of now, the Essential Phone is only available for reservation on Essential.com. Those who reserve phones will be contacted with further information regarding availability, payments, and shipping. However, this new partnership with Sprint could mean the phone will eventually be sold in Sprint stores. Until more updates are released, this is just speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear it.