Smartphone company, Essential, has raised $300 million in its latest round of funding with primary investors Tencent and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. The company also released information about its retail launch, which includes a partnership with Amazon and Best Buy who will be carrying the upcoming Essential Phone in the United States.
The release date for the Essential smartphone has not been released, but President Niccolo De Masi assured interested clients that it’s only a “few weeks away” and that the company would give an exact date in a week’s time. For its initial launch, the smartphone company has an exclusive deal with Sprint in the United States. According to TechCrunch, “ it also previously announced availability via Telus in Canada.” They informed the Wall Street Journal that future potential international carrier options would be announced later in the year.
Essential has attracted the interest of many telecommunications companies and the general public with its Android-based smartphone interface. The company has strong ties with Android due to its founder Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android. The sleek, slim design of the phone shares a lot of similarities with the upcoming iPhone 8, so it will be interesting to see how the features of the phone make their own distinct mark from its rivals.
The startup company understands that it is facing tough competition with competitors Apple and Samsung. De Masi claimed sales in the low millions will be a positive sign for the company. For a new startup to obtain a total of $330 million in funding and be valued around $1 billion by Equidate, Essential seems to be heading in the right direction. The startup wants to eventually venture out and sell other connected products similar to Amazon’s Echo. They also expressed interest in the device working with other smart assistants from multiple companies such as Amazon’s Alexa.
Trademarks filed by Essential show potential plans for home security and monitoring, and Variety reported that they “had acquired intellectual property from Sentri, a startup that had been building an Android-powered home monitoring system.”