back to article World+dog ignores Rubin's Wonderdroid

Essential's much-hyped debut phone failed to reach six-figure sales last year, despite heavy discounts. Analyst IDC's research director, Francisco Jeronimo, reckons Essential sold 88,000 units in 2017. Android godfather Andy Rubin's debut was much anticipated and snagged Sprint as the exclusive carrier. But it appeared late …

  1. 0laf Silver badge

    Funny that

    A new phone appears that is not very innovative, cheap, expensive, faster or bigger/smaller than anything else in the incredibly over saturated mobile phone market and it get a universal "meh!".

    Whodathunkit.

    Shockaroony.

    But I'd really like to get the guy that sold this to the venture capitalists and extracted millions out of them. That guy has some skillz.

    That's some real "ice to the Eskimos" selling there.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Funny that

      Does it have a notch? I don't like Notches, unless they make Minecraft work.

      (Is that showing my age?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funny that

        Depends, are you 12?

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: Funny that

      It was also a Sprint exclusive, a company that has perhaps the absolute worst customer service and has a horrible network. My dad had Sprint. He called customer service to ask for a copy of his bill. The correct response to such a question would be "Sure. Could you confirm that your address is ..." The response he got was "Why?" Needless to say, he wasn't a customer for long after that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny that

      The clip on 360 camera is rather innovative..

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Funny that

        The clip on 360 camera is rather innovative..

        Innovative perhaps. Apparently not interesting, at least to most of the market.

        Personally, I'd rank it somewhere below a cheese grater in the list of things I'd be inclined to attach to my phone.

  2. teknopaul Bronze badge

    root

    I aleays wonder how if you wanted to market a new phone, giving out root would help.

    Suddenly your old phone become a raspberry pi on steroids with a battery and full colour screen.

    Rooting some phones is possible but not easy.

    1. 080

      Re: root

      But without the GPIO.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: root

      Rooting some phones is possible

      And, for a lot of phones, pretty easy. Unless you are the sort of person that finds anything vaguely technical difficult..

      There is a downside - some stuff (Android Pay, banking apps et. al) are very unhappy running on a rooted phone.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: root

        And, for a lot of phones, pretty easy.

        My previous phone was a grey-market Samsung device I bought from some Amazon Marketplace vendor. Came unlocked and rooted. Can't get much easier than that, and while it was a generation or two old, it was perfectly suited to my purposes and very cheap.

        Screen died after a couple of years, but you take that chance with any device.

  3. Unep Eurobats
    Boffin

    Model number PH-1 suggests 'a wider home automation ecosystem'?

    Or maybe it just suggests that it's their 1st PHone?

    1. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: Model number PH-1 suggests 'a wider home automation ecosystem'?

      Maybe it's just an acid test

      1. Vector
        Coat

        Re: Model number PH-1 suggests 'a wider home automation ecosystem'?

        "Maybe it's just an acid test"

        Well, it did seem rather corrosive to the company...

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Model number PH-1 suggests 'a wider home automation ecosystem'?

        Maybe it's just an acid test

        Now that that back, it's a base slur!

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Model number PH-1 suggests 'a wider home automation ecosystem'?

        Maybe it's just an acid test

        It gave me a sour taste.

  4. Hairy Spod
    Holmes

    Never even heard of it

    no wonder its not selling

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Never even heard of it

      Add to that... you have to go to a "Sprint" store. Where I am, there are none. I daresay that was a very limiting marketing decision.

  5. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    Where is The Demographic Or Unsatisfied Demand?

    A phone that fills a non-existent gap in a pretty saturated market offering the promise of 'home automation' that the very few early adopters have probably already bought anyway, what is to like? The rest of us have our homes already automated enough. All done with devices do not need to be fondled, loved, constantly recharged or for that matter that do not rely on some distant 'service' that goes to pot whenever the weather changes or the roads get dug up.

  6. Steve Litchfield

    Not surprised. No real USP and they made the crucial mistake of omitting a headphone jack too. If you're going to try to appeal to Android geeks then you need to provide at least basic geeky functions.

    Even Google's struggling with the Pixel 2 range for the same reason. And that's flippin' Google.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The omitted a headphone jack (like Google and Apple), as that is what the market said it wanted. Everyone jumped up and down and clapped their hands at the thought of a modular, upgradeable handset, and that's what you have, no fixed onboard DAC, but one that lives inside the headphone lead and is upgradeable.

      I have a Pixel2, and like the fact I am not tied to whatever cheap and cheerful DAC is fitted in the phone, I bought a couple HTC £9 in line DAC, once for each set of headphones and just leave them attached, essentially turning my headphones into superior sounding USB-C headphones that can have the adapter removed and make them work with old legacy kit...

      1. FensMan

        The inline DACs you mention sound interesting - have you got a link to share?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They both sound superb and far better (and upgradeable) than the shit integrated SoC DAC that came in your phone...

          https://store.google.com/gb/product/usb_c_headphone_adapter

          http://www.htc.com/uk/accessories/usb-c-digital-to-3-5mm/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fail

      360 degree clip on camera is a USP

      Pixel 2 is selling pretty well for a premium device. It also sets the bar for what every other smartphone should be, and doesn't break the bank in the process.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Fail

        Pixel 2 is selling pretty well for a premium device

        Where "selling well" == "selling the same in a year as iPhones or the latest Samsung do in a month"?

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Android geeks then you need to provide at least basic geeky functions

      I like to think I'm a bit of a geek and I haven't used the headphone jack on my phone for years..

      (Even though I despise bluetooth with a passion, I am prepeared to stoop to using it to listen to music on my phone..)

      Your basic geeky functions != my basic geeky functions.

  7. Spudley

    "Much hyped"?

    It had gone completely under my radar until now.

    I've got RSS feeds for over a dozen tech sites in my browser toolbar, so if something is "much hyped", I would have expected to have at least been vaguely aware of it before articles about the poor sales figures start coming out.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Maybe they should find a new PR/Marketing company then?

  8. User McUser
    Coat

    "PH-1"

    phone's model number ("PH-1")

    Personally, I'd prefer something a little more basic.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "PH-1"

      Personally, I'd prefer something a little more basic.

      Yeah, but lets not get (free) radical about it..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sales plan

    https://www.essential.com/#specifications

    On paper, the phone looks like a decent specification however there is a question on UK after-sales support. It seems to be a US based phone and I can only find it on Amazon UK.

    Feels like a good product, built by some really good technical people who are passionate about technology who maybe aren't Sales & Marketing or have a "go to market" plan sorted out...

  10. JLV Silver badge
    Trollface

    Pixels, pixels, pixels...

    Friend of mine ditched Apple over the throttle battery/CPU fiasco and got himself a Pixel.

    He was less than thrilled when I told him about the 3-yrs from date of first release limit Google puts on even security updates. He's got, what, 2.5 years to go on his brand new phone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pixels, pixels, pixels...

      Apple aren't much better than 3 years. And tour phone won't be unusable after 2 years once the apple bloat gets loaded in. You also don't have to pay premium price for a shite apple product

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many compromises

    It's pretty, and it supposedly is near-stock Android for quick updates, and has the only good impl of hardware add-ons I've seen. It was my top pick, until it was released, and then:

    no headphone jack, camera was awful at launch (supposedly getting better, but still nowhere near feature parity with flagships), and as pretty as it is, it needs a case, because while the exterior is rugged, the innards aren't. Also, I have Sprint and love it, but I can't imagine people hopping networks for this thing.

    I hope they keep improving. Their privacy-focused Echo/Home competitor looks interesting:

    https://www.essential.com/home

    1. Keef

      Re: Too many compromises

      "Their privacy-focused Echo/Home competitor looks interesting:

      https://www.essential.com/home"

      Their privacy T&C's are interesting having read them, but my interpretation of 'privacy-focused' might be slightly different from yours. Perhaps 180 degrees different.

      Were you paid to write that comment AC?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Too many compromises

      Their privacy-focused Echo/Home competitor looks interesting

      I have a privacy-focused Echo/Home competitor. It's called "not having any invasive home automation widgets". It's great on privacy and it was cheap, too.

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