By Jonathan Vanian
August 17, 2017

Apple and Samsung have a new challenger to their dominant smartphones.

Essential, co-founded by Andy Rubin, who helped create the Android operating system, is now taking pre-orders for its much-anticipated Essential smartphone.

People can buy the phone either through Essential’s website or Sprint and Best Buy. Sprint is the only wireless carrier selling the phone, although Essential said the phone works with every major carrier.

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Essential’s smartphone costs $700, while a camera attachment that can film 360-degree video temporarily costs an extra $50 if bought together (it costs $200 if purchased separately. Sprint is giving customers the option of an 18-month leasing plan that shaves $260 off the list price.

The phone is powered by Google’s Android operating system, has a 5.71 inch high-definition display screen, and has 128 GB of storage. The phone competes with high-end smartphones like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, which sells for $770, and the Samsung Galaxy S8, which costs $750.

Rubin wrote in a blog post that Essential customers would “get guaranteed Android OS updates for 2 years and will get monthly security updates for 3 years, so your phone will always be secure and have the latest features.”

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