The Essential Phone has been making some interesting moves in the market lately.
- Essential dropped its asking price by $200.
- Essential released their second monthly software update, which improved performance (smoother scrolling! faster camera app!) and added some gesture support to the fingerprint sensor on the back.
- Essential is releasing new colors, starting with Pure White, which looks really good.
It has had a reputation amongst tech writers and podcasters as a market failure. This reputation was somewhat deserved. At launch, it had its share of problems. Its camera app was slow, unstable, and took inferior pictures. Some people (not me) experienced lag in the user interface, mostly micro-stutter while scrolling (a common Android defect). The speaker grill had a tendency to fall out. Reports circulated that only an embarrassingly low 5,000 units had been sold in the first few weeks.
Essential has almost completely fixed these problems. The camera app is faster and takes better photos. The user interface runs more smoothly than ever; micro-stutter is gone. I had the misfortune to have the speaker grill defect on my phone, but they RMA’d it within three days, and the new phone has a different grill design. I think the recent drop in sales price by $200, to a more reasonable $499, will probably make a huge difference in sales volume.
I feel heartened that they are working hard to solve their problems, and get their phone (which is pretty great) into more people’s hands. People are coming around—case in point, these articles:
- Essential Phone is the best deal in smartphones thanks to camera updates
- Essential Proves How Sensible Pricing and Software Updates Can Redeem a Failing Phone
- Essential Phone update adds fingerprint gestures, touch scrolling improvements, and more
I really like the Essential phone, and hope it can find a profitable place in the market for years to come.