Essential Products Inc., a startup co-founded by Android creator
Andy Rubin that launched last year to great fanfare, is
considering selling itself and has canceled development of a new
smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.
The original phone immediately struggled as buyers complained
about poor camera capabilities, issues with the touchscreen and
problems making phone calls. It also didn’t sell well. The phone’s
initial price was $699, the same as an iPhone viewed as a
competitor. At that price, the company sold as few as 20,000 units
across its website and third-party distribution partners, one of
the people said. Last October, Essential lowered the price by
$200, which boosted sales. The company has sold at least 150,000
to date, according to the person familiar with the company.