ibusinesslines.com August 19, 2017

Essential confirms $300M funding, Amazon and Best Buy retail availability

09 August 2017, 11:23 | Jodi Jackson

Andy Rubin

Andy Rubin

The release date itself is still somewhat mysterious, however: Essential President Niccolo De Masi told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that it's still "a few weeks away", but said that the company will provide an exact date "in a week".

It turns out that the Amazon Alexa Fund and China-based Tencent Holdings have contributed the $300 million package.

Essential founder Andy Rubin at the Wired Business Conference this year.

The latest funding round, which was reported on in June but previously unconfirmed by the company, gives Essential a valuation of about $900 million to $1 billion. Essential hasn't said when the phone will launch, only noting yet again that it's due out "in a few weeks" and will be sold by Amazon and Best Buy. Since this delay, the company has not provided a timeline on when to expect the phone to be available to consumers, but promises to do so next week. But, even with its expanded war chest, the company will have a hard time trying to break into the highly competitive phone market, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple. All three images highlight the titanium frame and ceramic body in various machining stages. In the time since, the company has announced retail partners and exclusive carriers for each region, including Sprint in the USA and TELUS in Canada.

Along with the phone, Essential is also developing a smart-home hub.

So, if you didn't like hearing that the Essential phone will be an in-store carrier exclusive for Sprint, you'll at least have the option to buy an unlocked device from Amazon. Do you think it will have a significant impact on the U.S. smartphone market?

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