U.S. carrier Sprint announced that the Essential PH-1 will be available from its stores starting September 14. This additional option for interested consumers is on top of purchasing the phone via the carrier's website. This positions the Essential Phone for a wider market, which could be helpful for sales of the device. Considering the limited availability of the smartphone with some units still on a pre-order status, the Sprint offer will make it more accessible.

Availability options

The company emphasized that aside from the convenience of in-store availability, consumers also get the privilege of testing the phone out prior to purchasing.

For a limited time, buyers may pick up the phone with a 50 percent discount on a Sprint Flex Lease plan. This adjustment in plan pricing will allow the consumer a $0 down payment and a monthly $14.58. The total saving per subscription is $260. Should one want to make a full price purchase, the Essential PH-1 is available for $699.99.

Delayed shipping

Despite anticipated shipping delays, Essential Founder Andy Rubin revealed in August that the phone was in mass production. Unfortunately, it was still not delightful news for people who had already paid for the phone. The pre-orders came in a few weeks before production and consumers who placed them were not happy about the delay. They were charged for the presale purchase, but the phones were not shipped as promised.

While some units are already on their way to buyers, other orders for the phone and the 360-degree camera accessory have yet to confirm shipment. Perhaps it is not uncommon for smartphone startups to have good delivery service. Saygus and OnePlus both experienced difficulties with order placements as well as shipping. Now, Essential seems to be struggling as well.

Competition with iPhone 8

According to Inverse, the Essential Phone could be the iPhone 8's biggest rival. Despite the massive publicity surrounding the iPhone debut, the Essential's smartphone seems to have what it takes to compete with one of Apple's latest phones. With Rubin's background in co-founding the Android operating system, he is determined to bring 'real passion and craftsmanship' back to smartphones.

This vision essentially materialized in Essential's new phone, especially with its biggest innovation - a lack of buttons. This new feature may be revolutionary enough to put the phone at a strategic, competitive advantage. However, both phones have yet to prove their worth until consumers get their hands on these devices.