Why Andy Rubin Is Going Exclusive With His Essential Phone

Francis Harris
June 12, 2017

Essential, the new tech startup from Android co-creator Andy Rubin, announced on Monday that Sprint will be the exclusive carrier partner for its upcoming smartphone, the PH-1, in the US.

Also, it would be available for outright purchase online with EMI options, but only Sprint customers would get subsidized pricing, under which they would pay around $200 upfront, while rest of the cost will be part of their monthly plan. Essential will be selling the phone unlocked, so it's not actually shackled to Sprint's service at all. "We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was", Essential president Niccolo de Masi said in an interview with USA Today. Essential Phone will be sold at all Sprint retail stores, telesales and Sprint.com as well as in U.S. Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com.

Sprint retail outlets will not be the only places for US consumers to buy the Essential smartphone.

The Essential Phone can and will work with any of the major carriers thanks to its wealth of built-in radios which will support all the major names. 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.

What also remains to be seen is how much pre-loaded software Sprint will stack onto the device.

CNBC reached out to Essential for comment but a spokesperson was not immediately available. But if you want a carrier-locked variant, Sprint will be the way to go.

Sprint is the fourth-ranked carrier in the United States, trailing Verizon (vz), AT&T (t), and T-Mobile (tmus) in total subscribers, making it a somewhat surprising choice for Rubin.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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