Nothing has today announced the Nothing phone (1), but details are very light on the ground as it feels like a concept phone awaiting investment to take the project forward.
The press release doesn’t really state much, and I expect the launch event will have explained a bit more, but let’s break things down based on what they said in the press release.
Firstly, Nothing spoke about its success so far. It talked about a US$10m allocation for its second equity-based investment round, with another round going live on April 5th. More details are going to be published on its website.
So what is it?
The Nothing phone (1) is going to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 gen 1 SoC and will be powered by its own OS, Nothing OS, a simple and basic UI that’s based on Android OS. With Google having gradually moved away from native Android for its own skin, there aren’t actually that many smartphones out there today with a basic user experience.
The photos also show a very iconic design, and Nothing OS will integrate seamlessly with Nothing products and products from other brands. It’s not really clear what that means, as it could merely be referring to quick Bluetooth pairing.
“Nothing OS captures the best features of pure Android, distilling the operating system to just the essentials, where every byte has a purpose. It is designed to deliver a fast, smooth and personal experience. A coherent interface, the hardware seamlessly integrates with software through bespoke fonts, colours, graphical elements and sounds. A first preview of Nothing OS will be available via its launcher that will be available to download on select smartphone models from April.”Nothing press release
It’s unclear if Nothing will have customised layouts and have added any features of its own. For what is likely to be a premium handset, it’s unlikely anyone would want something mimicking Android Go or native AOSP.
There’s also no information on the rest of the device, like the camera setup (and actual image sensors used), battery capacity, RAM, storage, charging speeds or anything. Some leaked photos suggested a wireless charging coil, but thus far it’s all speculation.
“Having raised $144M, built a team of over 300 people and secured support from trusted partners like Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, we are ready for phone (1) to mark the start of change for the sleepy smartphone market,
“We are also doing a new $10M round of community investment, so that our supporters get the chance to be part of our journey going head to head against the giants of the industry.”Carl Pei, CEO Nothing
More details of the Nothing Phone (1) will be released in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see what the Nothing launcher looks like, and what devices it will be available on, so people might be able to get a taster – or perhaps just use the launcher on their current device.
It all seems to me like this phone isn’t really fully finished, and Nothing is trying to gauge reaction and sign up customers (investors?) before actually going into production. There are bold claims that this will shake up the smartphone market, but we’ve heard such things before.
Ultimately there’s only so much you can do with a smartphone, at least a non-folding one, but perhaps there’s something we’re missing and the company will go on to surprise us.