‘Nothing’ to launch new Android phone this summer – What to expect

Published on Mar 24, 2022 04:38 PM IST

The tech startup, which has Chinese-born Swedish Internet entrepreneur Carl Pei as co-founder and CEO, takes inspiration to build an ecosystem of hardware, software and services from Apple

Representational images of Nothing’s upcoming mobile phone. (HT Photo)
Representational images of Nothing’s upcoming mobile phone. (HT Photo)

NEW DELHI: Yet another mobile phone manufacturer is set to jump on to the bandwagon. Yet another Android device is perhaps going to get added to your shortlist. ‘Nothing’ is set to launch its first Android phone this summer, almost a year, after what can be classified as a successful initiation to the world of consumer tech with the Nothing ear (1) wireless earbuds.

The tech startup, which has Chinese-born Swedish Internet entrepreneur Carl Pei as co-founder and CEO, confirmed a fresh community investment round that goes live in early April.

There are still very few specifics about Nothing’s upcoming Android phone, except that it’ll be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, will have something called as the Nothing OS overlaying Android and what the company calls an “iconic design”. The first preview of Nothing OS will be available as an Android launcher app for some phones in April.

There seems to be a push to make Nothing OS unique, with the company confirming it is working on integrating bespoke fonts, colours, graphical elements and sounds. From what we can see in the OS images shared by the brand, there seems to be an extensive use of fonts similar to the text on the ear (1) wireless earbuds packaging – something that’ll remind you of the dot matrix-style fonts. The OS could retain the core apps from Android, including Phone, Messages and Photos.

Nothing has also announced a $10 million allocation for an upcoming equity-based community investment round. It was in March last year when the company’s first community round raised $1.5 million in just 54 seconds. “Having raised $144 million, we 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,” says Pei.

For Nothing, experience of the smartphone comes from the top, with Pei having played a key role in the rise of OnePlus as a smartphone brand, before departing the company in late 2020. OnePlus has since merged with Oppo, and the closer integration of the two brands has left many users concerned that OnePlus phones will not retain the value and experience proposition anymore. The fact that OnePlus had to recently reverse the decision to merge Oxygen OS with Oppo’s Color OS indicates how vocal the criticism of the personality change has been.

Since the specifics of the Nothing smartphone aren’t known just yet, and the pricing hasn’t been announced either, it is too early to say whether Nothing will indeed look to compete in the same price bands as OnePlus phones, or it’ll look at the more affordable price points. It may be a bit of a stretch to say that Nothing will look to take on Apple and the iPhone line-up with its first phone, but Pei made one thing very clear in the livestream address – the inspiration about building an ecosystem of hardware, software and services comes from Apple.

“This is the start of an open and diverse product ecosystem that gives people real choice. We are building the most compelling alternative to Apple,” he said.

That may be a strong foundation to build on, because the ease with the Apple ecosystem is that it includes devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) alongside the OS’ (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, etc.), services (App Store, Apple Music, iCloud+) and other devices (Apple Watch, HomePod, Apple TV, etc.). It isn’t something other tech giants have been able to replicate.

Some have succeeded, to a lesser extent, including Google (Photos and Home integration in Android), OnePlus (cloud storage and wireless earbuds on phones) and Samsung (integrating Samsung Pay, Galaxy Store and Microsoft services).

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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