Essential phone shipping next week: Did it miss the boat with new flagships launching soon?

It's tough for a startup to launch a new smartphone, but this one has Andy Rubin behind it, so there is potential. Shipping three months after first promised doesn't help it, though.

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone was unveiled in May, with a release scheduled for June, when few new phones were launching.

It's now mid-August and a new email states it will ship within a week. However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 may be announced next week, followed by the LG V30, Google Pixel 2, Apple iPhone 8, Huawei Mate 10, and more. Essential may have missed a good opportunity to launch in this highly competitive smartphone market.

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The Essential Phone interested me in May, and I filled out the reservation for one. I like the color/mono dual-camera approach, the pure Google experience of the device, and the titanium build.

However, there is no level of water resistance or even basic nano-coating for minor spills. There is no standard 3.5mm headset jack, and that last startup phone company I bought a phone from (the Nextbit Robin) is no longer around.

The email I received in Aug. 16 stated:

"Great news, your phone has been built! We now just need your payment details and we will ship within 7 days. If you would like to change the items in your reservation prior to checking out, please contact our support team at support@essential.com. If you reserved an Essential 360 Camera, you will receive a separate email as soon as it's ready to be shipped. Your Essential Phone is unlocked, future-proof, and designed around you. For a limited time, we've also made it easy for you to get the phone for as low as $29.13 per month."

The $699 price is fair for a flagship-level smartphone, and the Essential Phone checks off most of the boxes. However, we have a dual-camera Galaxy Note 8 coming with an Infinity Display, a LG V30 with advanced video recording capabilities, and improved variations of a number of flagship phones. It is likely that most of these may be $100 to $300 more than the Essential Phone, but they are all from proven smartphone companies and could offer more.

September and October will be an interesting time in the smartphone world, and because the Essential Phone is a couple of months late, I'm holding out for those couple of months to see if it is still standing after the rest of the pack is revealed.

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