Nothing Reveals Its First Smartphone Running On a Customised Version of Android

Nothing Reveals Its First Smartphone Running On a Customised Version of Android
Screenshot: Nothing

Carl Pei is hoping to recreate the success of OnePlus, the smartphone company he founded in 2013, with his new venture, Nothing. Today, the outfit confirmed rumours it was designing and building its first smartphone, the “phone (1),” and it’s set to arrive sometime this Summer.

With over 3 billion devices running some flavour of Android at this point, the world doesn’t necessarily need another company making Android-based smartphones, but that sentiment also rang true back in 2013 when Carl Pei and Pete Lau founded OnePlus. To set itself apart from the competition, OnePlus focused its efforts on making flagship killers; smartphones that offered as much functionality and performance as devices from Samsung and Google, but at half the price. The strategy worked, and OnePlus became a well-respected brand amongst Android users and merged with Oppo earlier this year to help continue its growth.

But in 2020, Pei left OnePlus and revealed he was starting a new company from scratch called Nothing that would attempt to do the same thing as OnePlus had: shake up the smartphone and consumer electronics industry through a new approach to design thanks to a partnership with the Swedish company, Teenage Engineering. Nothing’s first device, the ear (1) wireless earbuds, was teased a little over a year ago and eventually arrived in the Summer of 2021 with an affordable $US99 ($137) price tag and features and performance that rivaled pricier alternatives from Apple, Samsung, and Google.

Ever since Nothing’s existence was revealed it was assumed the new company would eventually be making smartphones. Rumours heated up earlier this month during Mobile World Congress 2022 when Pei was spotted showing off a prototype device to Qualcomm executives, but today brings the first official confirmation that a Nothing smartphone is en route.

The simply named phone (1) was revealed at a Nothing event today, and while full details and specifications are still sparse, the phone (1) will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform and will feature a streamlined version of Android that has been minimized to its bare essentials that the company is calling Nothing OS. The company released a handful of screenshots of the Nothing OS today revealing a unique design language that includes custom fonts and graphical elements, and a preview will be made available through the custom Nothing OS launcher that will be downloadable on certain Android smartphones starting in April.

Nothing promises a smartphone that’s “designed to deliver a fast, smooth and personal experience” and one that will “effortlessly connect and integrate Nothing products and products from other world-leading brands.” It’s an approach that has certainly benefitted Apple whose AirPods line of wireless headphones offer easy connectivity to its various devices, and it sounds like the phone (1) will be far from the last product that Nothing has planned.

The only other detail Nothing revealed about the phone (1) today is that the company plans to release it sometime this Summer. Whether or not ongoing supply chain issues complicate that plan remains to be seen, but if the company delivers a product as impressive as the ear (1) earbuds, there’s good reason to be excited about this one.