Nothing unveils Phone 1, its flashy competitor to the iPhone

13 Jul 2022

Nothing's Phone 1. Image: Nothing

The Phone 1 features a unique design full of LEDs and comes in at a competitive price, but it is not yet launching in the US.

After months of dropping hints, the new venture of OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, Nothing, has unveiled its Phone 1 device.

The company first announced the Phone 1 in March, but there was nothing to be seen in terms of hardware or a prototype.

Since then, Nothing has been gradually sharing details about the device. OnePlus previously took a similar approach of generating a buzz among consumers through a drip feed of viral marketing.

The Phone 1 comes in at a starting price of €469, which is cheaper than the latest flagship smartphones from Apple and Samsung.

It comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset, a dual-camera with two 50-megapixel sensors and support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6. The smartphone runs on Nothing OS, a mobile operating system based on Android.

The phone has a very flashy look at first glance, with back-facing LED lights that flash for certain notifications. The phone also comes in transparent or black colour options, which both show off a unique lighting pattern on the back.

Nothing’s Phone 1 will launch at a London kiosk from 16 July, before opening up sales online on 21 July and at certain retailers. The phone will be available in more than 40 countries in Europe and Asia. However, the phone is not launching in the US.

US customers still have some hope, as CNBC reported that Nothing is looking for a partner carrier so it can start selling the Phone 1 in the country.

When the Phone 1 was first announced, Pei looked to the iPhone as his main rival in the smartphone market.

“If you want products that connect and work seamlessly together, the only choice is Apple,” he said. “As soon as you leave that ecosystem for a Windows PC or an Android phone, it breaks down. There is no alternative to Apple.”

Pei made his name as co-founder of Chinese electronics brand OnePlus, which he started with Pete Lau in 2013. The company’s first smartphone, the OnePlus One, was something of an underground sensation and hailed by Time as the “phone of dreams”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic