Telus set to launch Android co-founder’s Essential Phone in Canada this summer

Telus will be the only carrier in Canada selling the Essential Phone when it enters the market later this summer | Photo: Essential

Canadians itching to buy the new smartphone from the co-founder of Android will have to soak up some sun first.

Vancouver-based Telus (TSX:T) announced Thursday (June 15) it’s bringing Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone to Canada “later this summer.”

The phone will be available exclusively through Telus, with pre-orders beginning at the end of July.

Canada is the second country after the U.S. to confirm the launch of the Essential Phone within its borders.

So far the phone has attracted one carrier in the U.S., Sprint.

But Americans will also be able to buy the phone directly from Essential at a starting price of US$700 (C$930). The unlocked phones will work on other carriers in the U.S.

Rob Currie, Telus’ vice-president of mobile devices, told Business In Vancouver Telus will be selling unlocked Essential Phones directly to customers but Canadians will be able to purchase it through Essential’s website as well.

[Updated June 20: A spokeswoman working on behalf of Essential tells Business In Vancouver Canadians who attempt to purchase the phones on Essential's website will be redirected to Telus' website once the phone is available for pre-order next month.]

Meanwhile, he said the price point for Canadians will be determined by the time the device is ready for pre-order at the end of next month.

The Essential Phone features a 5.7-inch display, weighs 185 grams and users can also use a clip-on accessory allowing them to take 4K photos and 360-degree photos.

Currie said the Essential will be a “compelling and premium option” for Android consumers.

Although Essential CEO Rubin is no longer with Android, the phone will use the Android operating system.

"We selected Telus as our preferred carrier partner in Canada due to our strong alignment on the importance of continuous innovation and support for consumer choice," Rubin said in a statement.

"We look forward to delighting Canadians with our premium crafted materials and powerful components."

torton@biv.com

@reporton
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