Amazon slashes price of Essential Phone to all-time low of $399

Essential phone (Essential)
Amazon cut the price of the Essential phone to an all-time low of $399 for Cyber Monday.

Amazon dropped the price of the Essential Phone to $399 for Cyber Monday in the latest indication Andy Rubin’s startup is struggling to move its first handset.

The Verge was among the first to report the price cut, which marks an all-time low for the phone and includes Essential’s modular 360-degree camera attachment. Essential last month raised eyebrows when it lowered the price of its lone phone to $499, knocking $200 off the device.

Essential has attracted a significant amount of attention primarily due to Rubin’s tech-celebrity status—the company was highlighted as one of FierceWireless’s 15 most notable startups earlier this year, and has raised $330 million—but the phone stumbled out of the gate despite garnering generally positive reviews. Sprint has exclusive carrier rights to sell the phone in the United States, but BayStreet Research said in September the carrier had sold only 5,000 units since its launch a few weeks earlier.

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The company’s Essential PH-1 is a high-end, Android-powered mobile phone featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 128 GB of internal storage. It is made of titanium and ceramic, with magnetic modular add-ons, and notably lacks any logos. It went on sale last month through Sprint after a delay of more than a month.

But Essential’s debut comes amid a particularly competitive market for high-end smartphones in the United States. Apple recently released both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X; Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 is receiving rave reviews; and Google recently introduced the second generation of its flagship Pixel phone. So Essential’s debut phone may be facing stiff headwinds, particularly given Sprint’s exclusivity.

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