NEW DELHI: Yet another mobile phone maker is ready to jump on the bandwagon. Another Android device may be added to your restricted list. “Nothing” is set to launch its first Android phone this summer, nearly a year after what can only be described as a successful introduction to the world of consumer technology with the Nothing (1) wireless headphones.

The tech startup, which has Chinese-born Swedish internet entrepreneur Carl Pei as co-founder and CEO, has confirmed a new community investment round that will go live in early April.

There are still very few details about Nothing’s next Android phone except that it will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, have something called the Nothing OS overlaying Android, and what the company calls an “iconic design.” The first preview of Nothing OS will be available as an Android launch app for select phones in April.

There seems to be a push to make Nothing OS unique, with the company confirming that it’s working on integrating bespoke fonts, colors, graphics and sounds. From what we can see in the OS images shared by the brand, there seems to be a heavy use of fonts similar to the text on the ear (1) wireless earphone packaging – something that you will recall dot matrix style fonts. The operating system could keep Android’s main applications, including phone, messages and photos.

Nothing has also announced a $10 million allocation for an upcoming equity-based community investment round. It was March of last year when the company’s first community round raised $1.5 million in just 54 seconds. “After raising $144 million, we have built a team of over 300 people and secured the support of trusted partners such as Qualcomm Technologies Inc. We are ready for the phone (1) to mark the start of change for the dormant smartphone market,” says Pei.

For Nothing, the smartphone experience comes from the top, with Pei having played a key role in the rise of OnePlus as a smartphone brand, before leaving the company at the end of 2020. OnePlus has since merged with Oppo, and the The two brands’ tighter integration has left many users worried that OnePlus phones will no longer retain the value and experience proposition. The fact that OnePlus recently had to reverse its decision to merge Oxygen OS with Oppo’s Color OS indicates how strong the criticism of the personality change has been.

Given that the specifics of the Nothing smartphone are not yet known and the price has not been announced either, it is too early to say whether Nothing will indeed seek to compete in the same price brackets as OnePlus phones, or if he look at the most affordable prices. It might be a bit of a stretch to say that Nothing will be looking to take on Apple and the iPhone lineup with its first phone, but Pei made one thing clear in the live stream address – the inspiration to create a ecosystem of hardware, software and services come from Apple.

“It’s the start of an open and diverse product ecosystem that gives people real choice. We’re building the most compelling alternative to Apple,” he said.

This can be a solid foundation to build on, as the ease with the Apple ecosystem is that it includes devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) alongside the operating system (iOS, iPadOS, macOS , etc.), services (App Store, Apple Music, iCloud+) and other devices (Apple Watch, HomePod, Apple TV, etc.). It’s not something other tech giants have been able to replicate.

Some have succeeded, to a lesser extent, including Google (integrating Photos and Home into Android), OnePlus (cloud storage and wireless headphones on phones) and Samsung (integrating Samsung Pay, Galaxy Store and Microsoft services).


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is technology editor for Hindustan Times. When he doesn’t understand technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.
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