This is how many Essential phones have been sold so far

There are a few words of advice regarding windows of opportunity, but seems that Essential, by Android godfather Andy Rubin, may have thrown all those out the window. And now they might be reaping what it sowed. Hyped, late, and imperfect, the Essential PH-1 smartphone may have sold only around 5,000 units, putting it well below most major OEMs and earning it a spot in the niche, and therefore very small, smartphone market.

If the phone itself is to be judged on its own, the Essential is nearly the perfect device for die-hard Android fans, save for one detail. It offers a no-bloat Android experience on top of premium hardware encased in a memorable design (who can forget the notch?). That one dirt on its face is the underwhelming camera that seems to be intentionally designed to encourage the purchase of Essential's camera add-on.

Sadly, Essential, the company, made a few serious missteps along the way. Never mind the funding drama even before the phone was formally announced. The Essential, which promised to ship in early July, only started shipping in late August. And then there was the terrible privacy mistake that only a neophyte would have made.

The Essential PH-1's exclusivity to Sprint didn't help it either. It meant that majority of consumers will have to bear the full brunt of the $699 price tag if they buy it elsewhere. It might not be an ideal situation for OEMs and some consumer advocate groups, but there is no denying that carriers still have a lot of clout over smartphone sales, which explains why smaller OEMs, especially those operating from China, have a harder time in the US, as they have to go through the unlocked route.

That said, 5,000, and just in the US alone, is no small number for a startup that didn't exist in the public's eyes a year or so ago. And given how much funding it has secured even without actual sales to show, Essential might not be too worried about its sustainability just yet.

VIA: Fierce Wireless