After a couple of months of anticipation, Andy Rubin’s startup Essential is finally opening up orders for its first product, the Essential Phone. The unlocked, bezel-less device is now available from Essential and multiple retailers for $699.
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In the United States, you’ll have three primary options for picking up an Essential Phone. First, through Essential’s own online store. If you’re at all interested in checking out the company’s modular 360-degree camera, this is the portal to buy through since you’ll be able to get it for $50 on top of your order rather than paying the standard $199 price. You can also add a protection plan that lasts two years for an additional $99.
If you’d prefer to buy elsewhere, the Essential Phone is available through Sprint or Best Buy. Best Buy lists the phone as a Sprint model, but the bands listed on the product page still support all major US carriers. Sprint is also offering a deal that cuts the price of the phone in half for early buyers, taking the monthly payment price to just $14.58 per month for 18 months. The Essential Phone is also available to Canadian buyers through TELUS.
Update: Essential is also offering pre-orders of the unlocked model through Amazon with a September 1st release date.
For now, the “Black Moon” variant of the phone is the only one shipping, but the “Pure White” model is still a few weeks away from landing in the hands of customers.
In a blog post announcing today’s availability, Essential also confirms a few more details about the phone. One thing we’re always worried about with start-ups is long-term support, but Essential is making some big promises. According to the post, the Essential Phone will carry an update policy similar to Google’s Nexus and Pixel phones. Namely, that means owners will see two years of Android OS updates and three years of monthly security patches. We don’t have any promises to the timeliness of these updates, but given Essential’s founder, it’s likely they’ll be pretty quick.
Technology moves so quickly that companies rush to release a new phone each year, but most times even that isn’t fast enough. This deluge of devices isn’t good for your wallet or for the planet. Essential Phone will get guaranteed Android OS updates for 2 years and will get monthly security updates for 3 years, so your phone will always be secure and have the latest features.