The Android market is a badass, but since 2020, former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has been building hype around his latest startup. There are no plans to launch its first device – Phone (1) – later this summer, and here’s what to expect.
With HTC and LG exiting the smartphone space and an even bigger Samsung-Apple duopoly in the US, carving out market share is going to be a tough task for this burgeoning Android OEM. However, with GV (formerly Google Ventures), the public and celebrity endorsementsNothing’s first smartphone is still highly anticipated, but what could we see in it?
Video — Nothing Phone (1): everything you can expect from the latest Android
Design, Material and Specifications
It’s a mystery what Pei’s vision of a modern Android phone should look like, but there are some things we can immediately rule out. First off, there’s no indication we’ll see a foldable, and we’re not ready to see any weird ones. Essential GEM-style hardware. It’s going to be interesting to see what Nothing does with the Essential brand, especially now that OSOM has also planned an upcoming smartphone launch for later this year. For now though, what Nothing has in store for the Essential brand is unknown.
Pei also said there was “no alternative to Apple” on the Android side of the fence. Although we somewhat question his comment given that Samsung has its own range of products that interact and work directly with each other, this could hint at some of the future plans for the Nothing Phone (1) and the range. Nothing wider. Essential was working on a smart speaker before closing the business. Maybe we’ll see that resurrected at some point.
The Ear headphones (1) could be considered the first steps in the Nothing “ecosystem” and could be an indication of what to expect from the smartphone hardware. Unfortunately, save a potentially staged image of Nothing Pei’s CEO holding a prototype device alongside Qualcomm head Cristiano Amon at MWC22, we only know that the traditional smartphone paradigm is respected.
However, some of the company’s abstract images allude to some of the hardware features. Although it’s not 100% clear, the outline placeholders certainly suggest a fairly common rear panel layout with a top left camera node, wireless charging coil, and battery wiring for fast charging . We have to stress that this is pure speculation on our part, but Pei said the design itself is “unlike anything you’ve seen before”.
Some wacky concepts have surfaced online showing a completely transparent case, but while it’s certainly an interesting look, transparent smartphones aren’t new. The most recent example is that of the Xiaomi Mi 8 Prowhich was released in 2019. Top team members like Dyson and the watchful eye of Teenage Engineering will undoubtedly shape the aesthetic of Nothing Phone (1).
Not much has been shared about the potential camera capabilities of this upcoming device. It may be that the design and the software are set as main focus points rather than the camera. It would certainly mimic OnePlus’ launch trip, where the camera takes precedence over the internal and software experience and might be enough to convince old fans of Carl Pei’s old company to jump ship.
A previously announced partnership with Qualcomm means that the Nothing Phone (1) is configured to be powered by a Snapdragon processor. However, during the “Truth” live stream, no details were shared about the positioning of the material. This means that it is not clear if it will offer a flagship processor such as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – which has been used throughout 2022 by many flagship Android phones – or a slightly inferior chipset like many affordable Poco devices launched in recent years. Recent chip shortages could also play a role in which processor Nothing’s first smartphone will ship with.
Nothing should be more focused on the software experience, a great recent example is the Pixel 5. It launched with modest internals but retained the “premium” feel that is often associated with modern flagship smartphones without major impact . It is also a way to reduce production and sales costs without a major impact on performance. This may mean using Snapdragon 7XX-series or Snapdragon 8XX-series processors rather than the Premium Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
Special attention was paid to the always-on display features during the phone’s original keynote (1). This means that almost without a doubt the Nothing Phone (1) will come with an AMOLED display as this feature is not possible on LCD panels.
Nothing about the operating system, features and more
We know the Nothing Phone (1) will work on android, and Pei said it was designed to “provide a fast, smooth and personal experience”. This is coined “Nothing OS” and a recent preview of the upcoming launcher hints that it will be a clean, unobtrusive experience that mimics the Pixel Launcher.
The iconography, font, and overall experience are pretty close to what you’ll find on the Google Pixel series, but it’s unclear how Android 12 and Android 13 will be different on this third party skin. If a monochrome aesthetic is adhered to, it will be interesting to see Nothing take on Material You and Dynamic Color.
We also bet that to provide a fast and smooth experience, a high refresh rate display would be a priority for such a device. In the past we have seen flagships OnePlus phones offer almost extravagant amounts of RAM alongside a flagship processor. A high RAM allocation would certainly ensure things run smoothly when switching between apps, while a 90 or 120Hz display ensures that animations and interactions are smooth.
Some fonts and widgets offer what we’ll describe as a monochrome digital retro-minimalist look. During the “Truth” keynote, we saw some of the UI concepts, a Recorder app mockup, and some of the potential lock screen designs. Sure, it’s different, but there’s not much here that differs too drastically from what we’ve seen before on other third-party Android launchers and skins.
Pre-installed apps are also in the Nothing Phone’s line of sight (1), as there would be 40% fewer apps on the default phone. Since bloat has started to seep into almost every third-party Android skin, this could be a key selling feature for those who want a super-lightweight and just a few steps experience. above AOSP versions.
Three years of OS updates and four years of regular security updates were promised. This matches the rest of the Android space but pales in comparison to the love Samsung and Google. This could be a deal breaker, but as long as the updates are fast, it shouldn’t be a major issue.
Price, availability and release date
The only information known at this point is that the Nothing Phone (1) should be released this summer. The actual launch event date, pre-order, or shipping date is also unknown. With a wave of flagships set to launch in late 2022, the device could face some serious competition if this proposed summer reveal slips into the fall.
Pricing is highly dependent on where this device stands in the wider Android market. If it were a flagship Android phone, it could easily reach a four-figure asking price. Modest pricing would no doubt help retain fans and is a way to ensure that certain weaknesses – if they exist – are less of a deal breaker for buyers.
What do you expect to see from the first Nothing phone? Do we need a new player to shake up the market or is this just a hype-generating exercise for a PR master Carl Pei? Let us know in the comments section below.
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