Sprint on Thursday opened pre-orders for the Essential PH-1, the first smartphone from the company founded by the creator of Android Andy Rubin. The Overland Park, Kansas-based firm is Essential's only wireless carrier partner in the United States, though the smartphone will soon also be available for purchase from Best Buy and can already be ordered from Essential itself with an identical price tag. The PH-1 will set you back $699 if you opt for an upfront payment, though it's also available on the Sprint Flex 18-month plan that will usually be priced at $29.17 per month. After your lease ends, you'll be able to either pay the remaining $173.94 to purchase the handset or upgrade to a new one, with the latter option also becoming available after 12 months. For the time being, Sprint is offering a 50 percent discount on this plan to qualified customers who pre-order the handset, essentially allowing you to save $260 even if you ultimately opt to purchase the device.
The Black Moon variant of the Essential PH-1 is currently the only one being offered by Sprint and will presumably also be the one that Best Buy will soon have in stock, and the white color option will make its way to the carrier "at a later date," the company said, without providing a more specific time frame. Likewise, the mobile service provider has yet to clarify on when exactly will the pre-ordered units start shipping to consumers, though the device should be available at Sprint's retail locations by late August or early September, so those who order it in advance may also get it somewhat sooner. Essential recently began sending emails to customers informing them that those who pre-ordered their smartphone directly from the Palo Alto, California-based startup will start receiving their units as early as next week, though Sprint may not have the device in stock so early.
The Essential 360° Camera that attaches to the PH-1 can now also be pre-ordered from Sprint for $199.9 or $16.67 per month for a year with the company's Installment Billing service, though it's currently unclear whether the accessory will launch alongside the phone seeing how its creators previously stated that they will ship the module separately.