Nothing CEO Carl Pei (pictured) pitched the company’s Phone (1) on unique design features and a streamlined operating system, as he took a swipe at rivals for bloating software and providing unrealistic expectations for photography on their devices.
Among the USPs for Phone (1) is a so-called Glyph interface, which comprises a series of lights on the back of the device viewable through a transparent panel.
The lights can be programmed along with the ringtone to create specific patterns for certain contacts, along with other functions including indicating the battery level.
Nothing’s debut handset comes with its Android-based Nothing OS, which includes a facility to display non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and is being improved to easily connect with third-party technology such as connected elements of Tesla vehicles.
In a short launch event light on specification discussion, Pei attempted to distance his company from Android rivals, pointing to an industry trend to install unnecessary software and provide unrealistic photography expectations.
“The Nothing Phone (1) is quite controversial in that it only has two cameras,” he added, claiming many devices had one good camera and two or three “cheap” ones “just to make you believe it’s an advanced four camera system, but in reality after you buy it you aren’t that satisfied with the photo quality”.
He also accused manufacturers of hiring professional photographers to take images for launch events and editing them, claiming “never in 100 years are you going to be able to take those photos if you buy that product”.
By contrast, Pei indicated prospective buyers of Nothing’s phone could view images taken by its community to showcase a realistic vision of what to expect.
Away from the dual 50MP camera system, specifications include a 6.55-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 788G+ chipset and 4500mAh battery.
The handset goes on general sale on 21 July after a brief period of availability at its own pop-up retail store. Prices start at £399.
Nothing to lose?
The announcement follows a period of Nothing heavily hyping its entry into the handset market. The company released its debut device, a pair of earbuds, in July 2021 and has attracted some big-name backers during its various funding rounds.
Discussing the launch, CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood conceded Nothing had “a mountain to climb,” though welcomed the addition of a challenger trying to differentiate.
“Arguably the market does not need another smartphone maker, in fact in the current climate consolidation is probably more likely,” Wood noted.
But he noted Carl Pei was well known in the sector having co-founded OnePlus, which could bring benefits to Nothing.
“Fortunately, its strong fan following and clever marketing will likely give it a positive start. Sustaining sales on a long-term basis will be the challenge.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back