It’s been revealed that Sprint and Essential will be exclusive partners in offering the Essential phone through carrier distribution. This is a pretty big deal.
It’s not often a startup company can woo a carrier to peddle their wares. Hell, even multinational manufacturers like Sony have a tough time getting play.
Andy Rubin, of course, likely has deeper connections than most startups thanks to his OG status in the smartphone world, and his backing was likely a big play in getting Sprint to the table.
There are no details on the exact plans for distribution or advertising, so we’re not sure how “essential” the Essential phone will be in Sprint’s marketing message. But carrier availability does at least lower the cost barrier for Sprint customers not willing to pay $699 for this thing outright, and that could be the difference between remembering this as an exciting phone of the future and bonafide flop.
As for non-Sprint customers, don’t fret. This partnership doesn’t mean you can’t get the Essential phone working on your own carrier, it’s just that you’ll need to buy it straight from the source at that aforementioned price tag. Whether the phone is actually worth that cost is another issue entirely, and one we hope to explore in due time.
You can pre-register for the phone at Sprint right here, though the US carrier had nothing to announce regarding pricing and availability, only that we’ll have it later this Summer.