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Only 88,000 units of the Essential Phone were supposedly sold in 2017

It's no secret at this point that the Essential Phone has had a rough life. Relentless software updates and a dramatic price cut have resulted in the device finally being at least worthy of your consideration, but its blundering launch appears to have hurt Essential where it counts.

IDC Research Director Francisco Jeronimo recently announced on Twitter that the Essential shipped just 88,000 units of the Essential Phone in 2017 following the device's launch in July of last year. We weren't really expecting the Essential Phone to sell like hotcakes, but that's still a pretty low number.

In late September, it was reported that just 5,000 units of the Essential Phone had been sold. That was prior to the $499 price cut, so it seems pretty clear as to what was holding most buyers back in the Essential Phone's early days.

Where does Essential go from here?

Now that we have more current data, it'll be interesting to see how the Essential Phone 2 is handled. Essential has already confirmed that it's in the works, but with the majority of customers holding off on the Essential Phone until it was sold for $499 and under, will Essential focus on releasing a phone that's focused more on the mid-range market as opposed to the high-end for its second time around?

The company will be faced with competition no matter what segment it chooses to target, but a high-quality mid-ranger may be what Essential needs before it's ready to fully take on the Pixel and Galaxy phones of the world. Whether or not you bought an Essential Phone, is this latest number at all surprising to you? What would you like to see in the Essential Phone 2? Sound off in the comments below.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

64 Comments
  • It would appear to not be essential.....
  • Never heard that one before!!!! *cookie*
  • Here, let me help you... (•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)
  • Bought the phone when Telus dropped it to $650-$700... Never once regretted my decision. Perfect? No, but definitely not deserving of all the hate it gets. Kudos to the Essential team!
  • Tbh anything that's is not apple or Samsung gets a negative review. I got the xperia xz premium and for me the phone has been nothing but a joy to use and a very good camera. I got my sister the HTC u11 and again she loves that phone to and had no issues with it. My other half decided to jump from Apple to android and picked up the moto z2 play and she has been nothing but impressed with and and I have to say it looks a great phone and nice to hold. For me I don't think anyone makes a bad phone any more but if it's not got a Samsung or apple badge on it they get slated and missed by customers / phone shops to.
  • I see a lot of negative reviews towards apple and Samsung. The essential had and still has problems with it. It's just not a good phone.
  • Just keep on improving the PH-1 for 2018, get more accessories out then focus on PH-2 for 2019.
  • This would absolutely be the correct strategy. 2 year release cycle. Wasting engineering effort to put out one device a year is completely pointless when the average cycle to replace a device is now 2 years. Polish the software in the meantime. I have an iPhone X and Essential PH-1 and the Essential is a great phone overall.
  • They have to. if the one plus was priced at $699/769 it would have been a total fail.
  • With the latest camera update, I have zero complaints with the E PH-1. It's build quality sets it apart from everything else out there. It's a bargain at $499.00.
  • This looks like a great deal now. The minimal stock Android is very appealing and the price point is great. No headphones Jack is kind of annoying though and it is pretty heavy.
  • So between $40-61 million. I would say not bad on a first run, but how much was actual profit vs production cost is the real answer and definitely short of the fund secured for the company. I wonder how that plays out for investors. Here's to a hopeful followup I guess.
  • $40-61 million in revenue (to say nothing of what the profit margin was, which I expect was very low). That is absolutely NOTHING for a company that was valued at nearly $1 billion.
  • WhatsApp was purchased for $19 billion and had no revenue. Many companies these days have no revenue or have constant and sometimes hefty losses, yet they are valued at billions. The market is completely disjointed with reality. Too many very wealthy investors are playing investment games with cheap money injected in the market by the central banks.
  • Not sure where the WhatsApp comparison comes into play ... I mean, they had 420 million monthly users at the time of sale, not 88K. Today, they're at like 1.5 billion or something.
  • I think you missed the point. Andrew injected valuation into the equation and I wanted to illustrate how pointless this is as a measure. Worthless companies are valued at billions these days. The term "unicorn" is so overused currently that you'd almost need to come up with another term to describe an actual business with tangible customer base and revenue that is also has a correspondingly high valuation. Too much VC money is distorting the actual market making you believe that companies that should really be worth very little are somehow much bigger and more lucrative than they really are. Next market correction is going to be an absolute bloodbath for all but the wealthiest. So, to wrap things up, Essential could have very well covered all of their costs and actually made a bit of money even off of the sale of only 90K devices. We don't know this and because they are not a public company we never will.
  • An app is nothing like a device though
  • Great phone for sure. Good effort for first year with no traditional advertising. Can they get the word out though?
  • BARGAIN of a ridiculously overlooked (and hypercriticized) flagship phone with the best build quality of anything out there, top notch specs and stock Android. I bought mine at $450, found it tucked away amongst the cheap pay as you go phones at a BestBuy. Meanwhile they have multiple iPhone and Galaxy displays. The typical consumer has no idea that this exists.
  • lol... "top notch" specs
  • I understand why they did bad initially, they priced the phone too high for what is was, but now that it's a 500$ phone with great hardware and specs plus completely stock Android, as well as Treble even, it's too good not to go for, if water resistance isn't a must for you. At this point Essential deserves more customers.
  • Same experience here. When it dropped to $499 at Best buy it was no where to be found (not even with the pay and go phones). They had them in a locked cupboard behind the counter. I personally can't stand this phone and couldn't sell it fast enough, but at least from what I've seen... If they exposed it more and let people play with them maybe they would have sold more than 90,000 units.
  • Neck and Neck with the Pixel phone I would imagine. No, maybe not quite.
  • Probably not that far off.
  • I've been waiting for the green one for months. They emailed me saying early 2018, but still nothing.
  • The green one was my favorite... Very classy looking 😊
  • Love my phone. They definitely earned my interest for any PH-2. (Glad to hear that there are plans for PH-2!) I think where the consumers got hurt by the poor launch is in the accessories. I really hope they start coming out with more of them.
  • I really hope they succeed with the ph-2. 88,000 is not an awful lot but you have to look at the competition. For a new company & phone you can't expect much going up against Apple & Samsung. I still think it was a good first try and will only get better. Improve the camera & keep the price down!
  • PH1 still not available at consumer retailers, here in the United Kingdom! I I'll stick with my Xiaomi Mi Mix for now
  • In Canada, it's only sold from a provider, Telus.
    Nooooo thanks.
  • Koodo also has it, too bad we can't buy directly from Essential.
  • They need to have it be available from all carriers
  • Agree, but takes up valuable floor space for a unknown. Well, maybe not floor space, only takes a few inches. Lol
  • Can't wait for them to liquidate the inventory with a flash sale.
  • How does one learn of flash sales like that?
  • Co-worker has one. I tried it out. Seems like a responsive device.
  • I have a feeling the 2nd gen model is going to be a great device. They are going to take the good from this model, and fix the problems they had with things like the camera, the price, and some of the software glitches I have read about.
  • Essentially, a flop
  • Price and carrier support.
  • Carriers made the right call... (Pun intended) Initial asking price was way to high. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of software issues for a the new phone... It would have been a mobile return nightmare for any carrier. You are positively stupid if you jump at buying a new phone immediately upon release....
  • In the Android world, Samsung might not have the best performing software (I'm not denying that it's feature rich), but they have literally everything else clinched for #1 or close to it. You want to charge a similar price at launch and omit a headphone jack and wireless charging while having a subpar camera to boot? I hope it's a lesson learned. If you want to compete in the premium market, you have to provide EVERYTHING. Anything less and you won't move many units.
  • Guess Google didn't get the memo.
  • How can you say it doesn't have the best performance when the Note 8 is faster and has better ram management then any other Android device on the market? Besides maybe the one plus 5t.
  • You missed my point. I'm saying that Samsung sells millions and millions of phones because they feature pretty much everything you could ever want and they charge a premium for it. Other manufacturers like to charge a similar amount but they omit things.
    My bit on software is personal preference.
  • To be honest, the insane amount of hype this thing got when it was first unveiled did it no favors. It just made its flaws even more obvious
  • I'm not surprised by the low sales. It had a bunch of issues, most reviews were terrible, the price was way too high and Essential is an unknown company. I purchased the PH-1 when the price dropped to $399 on Amazon. Have been very happy with the overall experience on Oreo beta 3. Great battery life, very nice big screen in relatively small form factor and the camera has seen major improvements. For the Essential 2 I'd like higher IP rating, better camera with OIS, back material that isn't so slippery and Qi wireless charging or the charging dock. Some more accessories would also be nice.
  • Wow, I feel like I'm in really exclusive company now.
  • Missing too many essential features. Maybe next time?
  • I have had this phone since November, it has turned into a great device. It has a wonderful screen, the camera is good now, I for some reason have had no other issues with mine. It has dropped twice on to concrete and has survived. I don't really play games on phones so I can't say anything about that. I have had galaxies, iPhones and HTC phones. This one is right there. Just my 2cents.
  • All 88,000 phone nerds found it to be Essential. The rest of the world mostly went with Samsung and Apple. 😐
    Hope the PH-2 does better.
  • 88000? That is terrible. Not a success at all for a company whose ONLY job was to sell a good high quality flagship phone. It did not accomplish any of those, and had crap for QA. And installing google camera is something only very very few people in the general public (not you folks that read this site) have the capability or knowledge to do . Don't whine to me about how good it supposedly is now, it still has major problems that have not been resolved. My bet is the company will be sold
  • No problem with mine, but is any phone perfect?
  • Maybe yours since you said there was no problem with it?
  • Well, I read that this phone has 'major problems', I would like to know what they are as I have had no problems with the one I have had for almost three weeks. The hyperbole is tiring.
  • I really liked the phone, but after investing in smart home devices the Bluetooth was not reliable enough for my August locks. Adios. Back to the S8.
  • Love my ph-1 on OB3!! Looking forward to Oreo 8.1 in the coming weeks.
  • The only essential feature I need are duel SIMs. (UK) Very few phones are essential to me.
  • Andy Rubin is an OS guy.
    he should have invented a 3rd ecosystem or should have partnered with Intel/Samsung etc to improve Tizen or should have created a hybrid winux filesystem which can run windows appx and android apk files natively etc
    OS guy without any invention releasing just another android phone = boring
  • Botherring with appx would have been useless. What sane developer cares about MS's pathetic UWP? Even why would you ever need appx on Android?? :)))
  • He’s an OS guy but ironically the only part he got right was the hardware.
  • Probably worth $100 at most. You can't fool people with bad software. Hopefully they learned a lesson. Don't sell junk period.
  • Do you have one? have you ever used it? such assinine comments here.
  • It wasn't priced right from the beginning with all the issues it had.
  • Essential need a high-end phone for a mid-range price. Period.
    Honor e.g. does offer such phones, and they even have a somehow known brand.