Carl Pei was one of the founding members of the original One Plus team, and he played a vital role in making that initial smartphone and the brand as a whole, a successful reality. His fingerprints can still be felt in the design and positioning of the brand in the smartphone market. This is why it was such a shock when he abruptly quit his position in October 2020, after almost a decade of focused work towards the success of the brand. This was right around the time when One Plus and Oppo were starting to get serious about what would eventually become their inevitable yet unexpected merger. So, of course, people immediately began to speculate on whether that had anything to do with his decision, and where he would go now.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long, as, in less than a quarter of the year, Mr. Pei had already planned to create his own specialized technology brand, called ‘Nothing’. Ironically, a lot of people were quite interested in investing in nothing, so he soon managed to raise up to $7 million dollars from an eclectic group of impassioned investors, including unique personalities like iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, and even YouTuber Casey Neistat.
Within a month of the initial announcement, the company acquired another niche technology brand called ‘Essential Products, which was the brainchild of Android founder, Andy Rubin. This move, along with the acquisition of the Swedish consumer electronics company, called Teenage Engineering, gave us a glimpse into the kind of product profile that Mr. Pei was looking to develop.
Nothing Ear 1
He soon gave us the first taste of this evolving ‘Nothing’ template, with the launch of their ‘Ear 1’ wireless headphones. The new product featured a meticulously organized and transparent design language, which came at a relatively affordable price tag, thus evoking the spirit of simplicity and necessity. While the internals were robust and competent in almost all aspects of the user experience, the interface itself was kept quite simple and intuitive, on both the hardware and software levels. This gave us a further look at what the brand was hoping to accomplish with its products.
Yet, despite all these unique features, this was still not the product that we had been expecting from a company that was founded by the guy who revolutionized the budget smartphone experience at one point in time. What the customers needed and wanted from the brand was a smartphone, which would change the way we perceive and use these powerful devices. That would remove the clutter within the hardware and software integration, and create a universally adaptable platform that offers all sorts of options for individualization.
Thankfully for us, the wait was once again not too long, as we are just around the corner from the launch of the very first ‘Nothing Phone 1’. Set to launch officially on July 12, the brand-new smartphone from this exciting brand offers a unique aesthetic and reliable spec sheet, both of which were leaked and/or showcased long before the actual launch. Even though we are still two weeks away from the event, we thought it would be a good idea to take a recap of all that we have learned about this smartphone so far, so you can get an objective look at what could be the next big thing is this extremely saturated segment.
Nothing Phone 1
As you can see, the smartphone features an extremely minimalist design, with the only real highlight being the integrated LED lights on the back, which create a Glyph interface that can be customized by the user to blink in unique patterns to denote individual ringtones, general calls, notifications, and other vital functions. The LEDs also double as a fill light for the camera, when you need to shoot in the dark. Other than this, there aren’t any other unique identifying features of the design, since all other parts have been colored a uniform white.
On the front, you get a decent 6.55-inch 90Hz FHD+ OLED display, which features a punch-hole camera that is easy to ignore. It is powered by a healthy 4,500mAh battery, which features 45W fast charging support, to get you up and running in no time. The apps and other software features are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, paired with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, 8GB RAM +256GB storage, or 12GB RAM + 256GB storage configurations.
The software is based on Android 12 and features its own special ‘Nothing OS’ UI, which the company promises to update for a long time to come. The package is expected to be rounded off with a rear dual-camera system featuring a 50MP main camera and a 16MP secondary camera. The secondary camera is expected to extract both ultra-wide and macro shots from the same sensor. While the responsibility of taking good selfies falls on a 16MP shooter.
For all this and more, users are expected to pay around $397 for the base model, while the 256GB model clocks in at around $419, and the top-of-the-line 12GB RAM variant comes in at approximately $456. This sounds like a solid deal that a lot of customers will be willing to explore, which is perhaps why the company has decided to go back to the pre-invite-based purchase model they initially used to create the buzz around the One Plus 1; and if the success of that particular model was any indication, the wait might just end up being worth it after all.