US smartphone start-up Essential cut the price of its device by $200, declaring it wants “to make it even easier for you to experience our products and our brand”.
The news is hardly surprising: it was widely reported initial sales have been lukewarm, as acres of coverage from the technology press failed to equate with mass-market success.
“We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us,” Niccolo de Masi, the company’s president, said.
While Essential launched in a blaze of publicity thanks to the involvement of Andy Rubin, the former head of Android at Google, it debuted in a high-end market with strong, established, competitors in the shape of Apple and Samsung.
Essential’s reach was also limited by the fact operator support only came from the smallest nationwide US player, Sprint.
While the latest price cut may bring some new customers to the brand, it means Essential all but acknowledged it is unable to play in the top tier, instead putting itself into the competitive unlocked mid-tier Android device market.
And while Essential phone has a lot to recommend it – particularly in terms of design and build – rivals including LG and Motorola are no slouches.
For existing device owners, Essential is offering a $200 “friends & family” code to use toward an Essential 360 Camera “or another Essential phone”.