Essentially Cancelled

From The Verge, The Essential Phone 2 has reportedly been canceled:

Essential has canceled plans to develop a second phone and is exploring selling off the entire company, according to Bloomberg. Much of the details remain up in the air. Talks of a sale sound like they aren’t very far along, and the report says that Essential still has plans for future products.

One thing that does sound certain is that Essential’s second phone — at least as it was originally planned — isn’t going to happen. Bloomberg says the development was canceled and that engineers are now working on a smart home product, which is supposed to be released next year. That may be the Echo competitor that Essential announced a year ago, but which we haven’t heard a word about since.

The Essential Phone shipped months and months after they said it would be available last May, and then when it did launch, they cut the price $200.

Andy Rubin created the Android operating system, and he came to market with a decent phone, but the Android market is very crowded and Rubin clearly was not able to convince people to buy his phone over a Google or Samsung phone.

Categories:

Business, Product

An Essential Price Cut

Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, launched his own, new phone called the Essential Phone back in May and earlier today Dieter Bohn reported the Essential Phone dropped $200 in price (always a sign of a smash hit):

Essential is slashing the price of its eponymous phone, down to $499 at its website. That’s a $200 price cut from the original $699 price, less than two months after it began shipping to customers. There is really no other way to read the move except as a signal that it wasn’t selling well at $699 — especially given that the only US carrier stores it’s available in have “Sprint” above the door. It certainly doesn’t help that it now has to face the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL head-to-head.

I’m not sure what Andy Rubin expected. The market is extremely crowded, even if you take out the iPhone. Competing with just Samsung for Android market share is plenty of competition.

Let’s not forget the Essential Phone didn’t ship on time back in July.

Rubin’s first Essential blog post, Why I started Essential, kinda sorta sheds some light on things, but I’m still left confused:

For all the good Android has done to help bring technology to nearly everyone it has also helped create this weird new world where people are forced to fight with the very technology that was supposed to simplify their lives. Was this what we had intended? Was this the best we could do?

I left that night reflecting deeply on what was great and what was frustrating with the current state of technology today. After another long talk with my friend we decided that I needed to start a new kind of company using 21st century methods to build products for the way people want to live in the 21st century.

I don’t use Android devices, but are people “fighting” with their Android phones? I’m also not convinced the Essential Phone distinguishes itself from other Android phones like the Pixel 2 and the Galaxy 8.

Nerds are getting great at building products, but they have to get better at marketing them. I recommend they read every book by Seth Godin for starters.

Categories:

Product, Technology

Essentially no one can buy an Essential Phone.

Amazon and Tencent Back Smartphone Maker Essential:

Essential Products Inc., the smartphone maker founded by the creator of Google’s Android mobile software, confirmed it has a new $300 million war chest as it prepares for the seemingly insurmountable task of taking on Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Inc.

The startup on Wednesday unveiled the large roster of investors taking a chance on it, including Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 0.28% and Amazon Inc.’s AMZN -0.69% Alexa Fund. Essential also disclosed that Best Buy Co. stores and Amazon.com Inc. will be its retail launch partners in the U.S.

But the company stopped short of the big reveal: When exactly its $699 titanium-encased smartphone will be available.

Great, Andy Rubin’s company has 300 million dollars. Good for them. They still haven’t shipped their Essential phone.

One more clarification: they aren’t taking on Apple, they’re taking on Samsung. Samsung is the largest manufacturer of Android phones in the world with a 48.7% share. Huawei is a distant 6.4%. They need to tackle Samsung before they tackle Apple.

After reading the features of the Essential Phone, I can’t list any competitive advantages it has. It has top-of-the-line specs (as of 2017) and an edge-to-edge screen (quickly becoming table stakes).

The Essential Phone hardly represents traditional competition, let alone asymmetric competition.

The Not-So-Essential Phone

The new phone from the creator of Android didn’t ship when he said it would:

The new phone from Android creator Andy Rubin appears to be delayed.

When he announced the Essential smartphone at Recode’s Code Conference in May, Rubin said it would start shipping within 30 days, The Verge reported. The company also started accepting pre-orders for the $699 device.

But more than 30 days have passed since then, and Essential isn’t shipping the phone yet.

Creating a computer operating system doesn’t mean you have any idea how to design and market a successful phone.

The Essential Phone isn’t as essential as Andy Rubin thinks it is.

Since I’ve taken one jab at Android, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind readers this was Rubin’s vision of Android:

Rubin’s grand vision of Android was barely an evolution of Palm Pilot OS.

Android wasn’t designed for multi-touch which is why it took so long for Android UI to approach the velvet-y smoothness iOS had from the beginning.

Categories:

Product, Technology