The Essential Phone has arrived, a bit later than originally announced. The first smartphone from the new company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin is now available to order, via Essential’s own site, Best Buy, and Sprint. The phone is still listed as a pre-order in all three spots, with shipping information to be conveyed later, but this is the closest people have been able to get to actually holding the device in their hands up until now.
Essential also began sending out notifications to early customers who had pre-registered to purchase the device. 9to5Google reported Wednesday that pre-registered users were receiving emails telling them to supply their payment information, and that once completed, their devices would begin shipping within seven days.
The Essential Phone features a nearly edge-to-edge display, and a standard 128GB of storage on board. It supports external accessories, including a 360-degree camera that Essential revealed at the same time as its phone. The Phone supports all major U.S. carriers, but it’s being sold exclusively via Sprint with a $260 discount at retail. Unlocked, it’s $699 from Essential.com, with a limited time offer to also get the 360 camera in a $749 bundle.
Essential’s smartphone is designed to be minimal in its approach to branding, and to other stuff that phone makers typically do to mess up the smartphone experience, like preloading apps and content, or recreating their own, substandard versions of stock Android apps. It’s also a premium device in terms of materials and design, and Essential is promising two years of Android OS updates and three years of security updates, too.
It sounds like the first Essential Phone customers will still have to wait a week or so to actually receive their devices, but this is a big milestone for Rubin’s company. Another premium smartphone maker entering the fray is also bound to make things a bit more interesting in the market, which has seemed to settle with Apple and Samsung ensconced firmly at the top.