Mid-range phone brand Nothing is looking to make its US debut, according to company founder Carl Pei, but is facing some logistical issues – not to mention competition from major rivals.
In a conversation with CNBC (opens in new tab), Pei states the company is currently in “early conversations with American carriers…” but didn’t name a specific one. Each carrier has a specific suite of software it wants to be added to smartphones, plus there is “a lot of additional technical support” that needs to be done, according to the founder. All of that has contributed to Nothing delaying an American launch. It’s also unknown if the Phone (1), Nothing’s only smartphone at this time, will be launching or if it’ll be something different. But it won’t be the Phone (2) as Pei was quick to shoot down that idea on Twitter (opens in new tab). He states that Phone (1) will be the company’s main focus as it builds the device’s software, according to the post.
Nothing has had success in the United States with the Ear (1) headphones. Pei states a third of total sales come from the US so there’s at least some interest in the company’s products. It appears that success has given Nothing the confidence to strike out for the Western Hemisphere.
Speculation and competition
Although it’s unknown what’s releasing, we can look at the Phone (1) to get an idea of what’s possible.
The Phone (1) is a pretty decent mid-range device with CNBC comparing it to the iPhone SE in terms of price and specs. Starting at £399, you get a 6.55-inch Full HD OLED display powered by a tuned (but still kinda old) Snapdragon 778G Plus chipset. The glowing Glyph Interface on the back gives the smartphone a unique look that can be fine-tuned for notifications and calls. Battery life leaves much to be desired, however. You can purchase an unlocked Phone (1) in the US for $489, but it only works with certain carriers.
With regard to iPhones, Pei states it wants to take on Apple in the mid-range game, but that’s some tough competition. Recent reports (opens in new tab) show iOS devices have effectively taken over the US as more than half of all smartphones in the nation are iPhones. Luring iPhone owners to Nothing’s Android-based platform might prove challenging since Apple customers are not only tied to their iPhones but to the deeply integrated App Store (and hosted apps), as well. Nothing founder Pei believes this, too, will be a problem for future endeavors. He noted to CNBC that it’s “going to create a ceiling to our growth.”
Nothing certainly has its work cut out for it. According to CNBC, the company has had to deal with numerous manufacturing issues from covid restrictions in India hampering production to being rejected by Foxconn, “Apple’s largest iPhone supplier,” to make its devices. We asked Nothing if it can tell us what it plans to launch in the US or at least give us a hint. This story will be updated at a later time if we hear back.
If you’re interested in scoping out budget devices, be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated cheap phones list.