- The Essential phone that is the brainchild of Android co-founder Andy Rubin now has an exclusive us carrier - Sprint, USA Today reveals. Given that this is essentially a new player in the market of smartphones, it would be hard to predict where the phone might end up, although major carriers in the U.S. did pretty much confirm that they would support the phone in some capacity. Only Sprint will sell the phone in its online and physical stores, and only Sprint's customers will be able to get it with subsidies.
"I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future", Essential President Niccolo de Masi told USA Today.
The nation's no. 4 carrier hasn't made an official announcement yet regarding pricing, but the phone will be available unlocked from Essential's website for $699 (and $50 extra for the 360 camera, optional).
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One thing worth pointing out is that Andy Rubin is a good friend of Masayoshi Son, who is the CEO of SoftBank. Although Sprint lags behind Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, the deal gives Essential the ability to showcase its phone at thousands of retail stores across the country. Meanwhile, Rubin serves as an advisor for SoftBank's Vision investment fund. You can now pre-order the high-end device from the company's website, but it looks like you'll also be able to get it from Sprint soon.
So, why did the company decide to partner with Sprint and not one of the other big carriers?
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