Nothing Phone 1: What we know about Carl Pei’s next phone | Digital Trends

The Nothing Phone 1 was officially announced earlier this year during a livestream in which the company’s CEO, Carl Pei, revealed his ambitions for the smartphone. Nothing has been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to specific details about the Phone 1. However, there have already been a handful of credible leaks that suggest the device will be on par with other leading flagships.

Here’s all the information we have so far about the Nothing Phone 1.

Design

After much speculation and plenty of teasing from Nothing, we’ve finally gotten a good look at the design of the Nothing Phone 1. The official images shared by Nothing have created a divide of sorts among fans due to the smartphone’s transparent back. Despite Pei’s insisting that the Phone 1 will be something of an iPhone killer, it certainly takes a lot of inspiration from Apple’s handset. It’s because of the conventional design that some fans are feeling a little bit disappointed, especially seeing how Nothing has been talking about its expectations for the Phone 1 to be the start of an industry-wide shake-up.

Nothing Phone 1 official render

The Nothing Phone 1 features two main cameras on a vertical pill-shaped island directly next to a microphone and flashlight. There’s currently no word on the lenses that the cameras will have. Across from the cameras on the right side of the phone’s back is a red recording light that pulses on and off while the phone is recording video. It’s a nice touch but seems like the kind of feature that might get turned off by many, as the light might be seen in recordings.

While we haven’t had an in-depth look at the smartphone in full, there appear to be three buttons on the sides — two on one side and one on the other — mirroring the industry standard of two volume buttons and one to lock the screen.

The only truly unique elements of the Nothing Phone 1’s design are the light strips around the camera island and the wireless charging coil. The design of the three light strips has been teased in previous Nothing events for the Phone 1, and it’s certainly striking to see. A recent overview from tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD) shed some light on the functionality of LED strips.

Someone holding the Nothing Phone 1, showing the front of it and its display.
MKBHD

The lights serve several purposes — such as being notification indicators when the phone is lying face down and displaying charging information. As shown off by Brownlee, the lights are programmable and give device owners a variety of options when it comes to how the phone lights up for each type of notification. However, as many have pointed out, the lights’ practicality immediately disappears when putting a case on the Phone 1.

Turning the Nothing Phone 1 over to the front, its unique design flair is all but impossible to see. It has a large display with slim bezels, rounded corners, and a hole-punch camera cutout in the top-left corner. It’s not a bad design by any means, but it also feels very similar to most other modern flagships.

Specifications

Nothing hasn’t officially provided much information on the technical specs for its first smartphone. The only thing known for certain about what will be going on behind the display of the Phone 1 is that Nothing is partnering with Qualcomm as announced in a Tweet by Qualcomm president Enrico Salvatori in March. Because the tweet was posted before the Phone 1 reveal event, many speculated that the reveal would provide some solid information on what Qualcomm was providing to the Phone 1 in terms of processor.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Unfortunately, no such information was mentioned. Fans have speculated that the Phone 1 will be fitted with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but there’s nothing to confirm this. A big part of the Phone 1’s marketing has been focused on letting fans know that Nothing plans on being a competitive contender with the biggest brands in the industry. Because of this, the company will need to be particular about its pricing, and the use of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 might push the Phone 1 too far into being a luxury device due to the cost of the processor.

According to a leak from TechDroider, the Phone 1 will feature a 6.55-inch OLED display that can display up to 2400 x 1080p resolutions. Based on the renders we’ve seen so far, the smartphone will feature a singular “hole punch” front-facing camera in the top center of the display. There is no information regarding the specs of any of the cameras fitted in the device.

Carl Pei Tweeted in May that the Phone 1 will support wireless charging. The specific details of that, however, are still unclear.

Software

Although there isn’t much known about the technical specs of the Phone 1, its software is a completely different story. The Phone 1 will run on NothingOS, which uses Android as a foundation. The company ran a NothingOS beta preview in April, giving fans the chance to get a feel for what the Phone 1 will be like when it eventually launches.

Nothing OS Android launcher running on Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The reception to the beta was mixed due to NothingOS feeling a little bare-bones as a result of its intentional minimalism. A lot of the typical AndroidOS experience was stripped away for a more straightforward design, but there’s not a whole lot of new that Nothing is bringing to the table. There’s still time for the company to fix the less than ideal parts of the UX, but there’s nothing concrete suggesting that they will, especially given how integral minimalism has been to the Phone 1’s marketing.

U.S. availability

Many assumed that the Nothing Phone 1 would be launching globally. However, Carl Pei recently revealed to PCMag that the company has other ideas. Surprisingly, there will be no U.S. launch for the Phone 1. Instead, it’ll be exclusive to Europe and Asia. Pei’s explanation for leaving the U.S. out is that Nothing has “strong partnerships with leading local carriers” in the European and Asian regions. According to Pei, launching a phone in the U.S. would be too difficult for their first launch as Nothing doesn’t have the types of relationships required to get a new smartphone off the ground.

While this is certainly disappointing for anyone in the U.S. who was hoping to get their hands on the Phone 1, Pei is hopeful that future Nothing smartphone releases will eventually launch here. He says that the company has “big plans” for future products, but said nothing specifically about what those plans entail.

For a device meant to take on the iPhone and be the start of an industry-wide shake-up, many fans have expressed their disappointment in Nothing for not launching in the U.S. where a shake-up is seen as necessary. For many, Apple and Samsung are the only two options when it comes to owning flagship smartphones, so the lack of support for the Phone 1 is a big hit.

Release

There isn’t a specific release date for the Nothing Phone 1 yet. Currently, the only release date information available is that the company will be hosting a full reveal event on July 12. We’ve had an inkling that the device would be launching sometime this summer, and the reveal event seems to be supporting those hunches. While the event date gives fans a general window for when they can expect to hear more, it’s still unclear when you’ll be able to go out and purchase the Phone 1 directly from Nothing.

Concept for Nothing smartphone

Fans do have a chance to purchase the Phone 1 early at a Stock X auction. The auctioning site will be selling 100 Phone 1’s on June 21, but there’s no cost attached to the starting bids yet. It seems like something of a shot in the dark for Nothing and Stock X to ask customers to bid for a device they know so little about and haven’t seen in full.

The other key piece of information potential bidders should know is that after the auction concludes, those who won phones should anticipate a 35 business day delivery wait. Depending on the release information that gets announced during the Nothing Phone 1 reveal event happening in July, it could mean that the devices purchased at the auction will be delivered after they go live at retailers.

There’s plenty of excitement built up for the Nothing Phone 1, but it would seem like some of that anticipation comes from how mysterious it has been up to now. As we’ve gotten closer to the July 12 reveal, more details have been shared, but we’re still far from seeing the full picture just yet. We’ll update here with more news and rumors about Nothing’s first phone as they come in.

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