It’s not easy for startups to make headway in a well-established field — no matter what big gun they have behind their backs. And yet, it was Android co-creator Andy Rubin that contributed to part of the mire Essential has trudged through, though the controversy doesn’t seem to be a fatal one for now.

When the Essential Phone finally started sales in August, it only had Sprint and Telus for network carriage while any other interested consumer had to go with an unlocked unit. Both subscriber bases are the weakest of their respective tiers in the United States and Canada and went up against power rotation of Apple and Samsung devices.

The earliest sign we got on sales? A report that simply put the Sprint sales tally at around 5,000 units in September. One of the proprietary apps on the camera was seen to have at least 50,000 downloads in December.

The latest word now? Francisco Jeronimo of IDC Research has tweeted that the Essential Phone has achieved 88,000 shipments in the first six months of shipments. Keep in mind that when we’re talking about numbers at this level, unsold inventory will be more critical to watch for.

Still, for a phone that has not exactly had an ad machine behind it and a slow roll on what’s promised to be an exciting accessories ecosystem, it’s at least above zero.

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