Nothing just cryptically revealed a new (old) pair of TWS Earbuds

It’s not entirely clear if Nothing is releasing an upgrade to the Ear (1) TWS earbuds, but the rumor mill seems to indicate that their latest product, the Nothing Ear (Stick) is simply a new charging case for their existing TWS earbud design from last year.

I bet you have a lot of questions. Don’t worry, so do I. The announcement (or rather reveal) for the Ear (Stick) dropped rather unexpectedly, without as much as a poster or keynote to mark its moment. Revealed as an accessory at Chet Lo’s SS23 fashion show on the runway, the Ear (Stick) seems to be a new case design for the Ear (1) buds. Unlike the old case that’s square-shaped, this one is styled to be the same shape and size as a lipstick (or if you’re looking for a less glamorous term, a nebulizer). It’s unfair to assume or speculate that the earbuds with the Ear (Stick) are simply the older earbuds. As far as we know, the design hasn’t changed, although Nothing did indicate that maybe this new SKU will get some sort of revamp in the form of a spec upgrade.

Designer: Nothing

Without getting too much into the actual art direction of the images (I never really understood experimental fashion, tbh), let’s just analyze the tech before us. Pei has often claimed that Nothing aims at doing things differently, creating an ecosystem that’s open to all and that’s designed to shake the status quo. Without any details on the Ear (Stick), it’s difficult to really make critiques on the company’s implementation of the philosophy… however, the Ear (Stick) does look different from any other TWS case from a major company. They also open differently, by rotating the transparent outer cylinder to have the cutout on it match up with the TWS earbuds in the inner cylinder.

Maybe there’s also an ecosystem feature in play (who knows, the earbud case could also unlock your Tesla or something), although one thing stands out… the company has touted the phone (1)’s ability to reverse-charge devices like TWS earbuds simply by placing them on top of the phone (1)’s coil. This seems unlikely with the Ear (Stick) given its cylindrical shape will probably roll right off the phone.

With this announcement, it’s expected that Nothing will reveal more details about the Ear (Stick) over time. If anything, the company’s mastered the art of the reveal, leaking out bits strategically to fans and the media… like the Glyph Interface was first debuted in March, 4 months before its launch in July!

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Nothing phone (1) Review – Resurrection of the Android Flagship Killer

PROS:


  • Great value for money

  • Perhaps the cleanest version of Android on a non-Google phone

  • Premium design with a smooth UI and surprisingly good camera

CONS:


  • Phone heats up significantly during use

  • Glass back is incredibly slippery and fingerprint-prone

  • Still not everything that Nothing promised.

RATINGS:

AESTHETICS
ERGONOMICS
PERFORMANCE
SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY
VALUE FOR MONEY

EDITOR'S QUOTE:

The phone is just remarkable for its price and fits wonderfully into the flagship killer category. The Glyph Interface feels like a compelling feature - but the lights there are entirely utilitarian. They weren't meant to be played with and enjoyed as an individual element... and that feels like somewhat of a let-down.

Pei made a promise to give us a phone that challenges the status quo by being fun and functional together. To a decent extent, the Nothing phone (1) fits that very description that Pei painted before us… but perhaps the most important thing about the Nothing phone (1) is its timing. At a time when the hype for OnePlus has absolutely died down (with ardent fans now turning against the brand), combined with the fact that Google doesn’t seem to care even a bit about getting people excited about their phones (the Pixel 4 and 5 were absolute marketing disasters), this empty period of nothingness seemed like a perfect time for a new contender to emerge. Almost through sheer coincidence, the brand was named Nothing.

Click Here to Visit the Nothing Website

About The Phone

Although we did cover the phone in great detail when it launched back in July, here’s a brief overview of what this phone is and what it hopes to achieve. When founder Carl Pei took to the stage in March of this year to talk about Nothing’s next product, he set a few things straight. Phones were becoming boring, operating systems becoming bloated, walled gardens were being created, and there was an empty space in the market – a space Nothing hoped to fill. The phone’s launch in July definitely felt like it did justice (to a certain degree) to Carl’s little March monologue. The Nothing phone (1) is easily the most interesting-looking phone I’ve seen in a while. It comes with a unique transparent back that comes to life thanks to a Glyph Interface – or a series of lights, that flicker when you get calls or notifications. The phone, very competitively priced, is incredibly premium for its price. It comes with a Snapdragon 778G+ processor, has an iPhone-mimicking exterior, supports wireless charging, and has a clean OS. Its few shortcomings aside (and I’ll get to them in a bit), the phone absolutely nails the brief, the price, and the timing.

The Design

Unboxing this smartphone is an experience, to say the least. The Nothing phone (1) oozes sex appeal with its slim design and aluminum frame. The bezels around the screen are just perfectly uniform (there’s no chin), which makes the phone (1) really feel top-notch. The screen’s marvelous too, thanks to that 120Hz refresh rate that makes using the phone a dream. There’s a deceptive lightness to the phone, which, when coupled with its thin form factor, makes the device feel magical in your hands. However, I do have two significant complaints.

In order to make the phone’s interiors visible, the rear uses a glossy glass panel which is A. incredibly slippery, and B. an absolute fingerprint magnet. Customers who buy the white variant won’t have a problem with the latter, but at least on the black model, the back is incredibly prone to smudges, dust, and prints. This isn’t so much of a problem in the grander scheme of things… at least as much as the fact that this phone is just ridiculously slippery. It will almost certainly slide off surfaces that aren’t perfectly horizontal (don’t even THINK of putting it on your car dashboard), and I couldn’t even seem to keep the phone on my lap without having it just glide right off. It holds fairly well in your hands, but does rather poorly on other surfaces that offer less friction like tabletops, countertops, and more notably, car dashboards. The solution is simple – slap a case on the back. However, given the phone (1)’s unique back, that seems like a shame.

The Glyph Interface

This unique back is quite literally what everyone is most likely to talk about. If you kept an iPhone, a OnePlus, a Pixel, and a Nothing phone (1) face down on a table, 9 times out of 10, people will pick up the Nothing phone (1) to get a better look. The phone’s back manages to look interesting even when static (which is a massive achievement), but things only get better when that Glyph Interface comes to life.

The Glyph Interface was designed to be a communicative feature that could alert you during calls and notifications. The lights flash and dance to your ringtones, giving the phone a flair that other smartphones only dream of. It’s easily the most publicly enjoyable part of the phone and I honestly wish Nothing’s design team did a little more with it. Here’s what I mean.

The lights on the Glyph Interface can be activated in one of three ways – when you get a call/notification, through the camera app that allows you to use the Glyph Interface as a makeshift flash, and finally while charging when the light shows a progress bar. It seems like there’s no other way to tinker or interact with the lights, which really was one major let-down for me. The most fun part of your phone wasn’t designed to be played around with. You can’t activate the lights on the back as a torch (the torch feature only switches the camera flash on), and it seems like Nothing really missed out on a bunch of opportunities. There’s a test feature that lets you sync the lights to music, but with most people listening to music on AirPods with their phone in the pocket, I doubt this would end up being used as much. There should easily be a slew of games based on the Glyph Interface like spinning the dice, rock paper scissor, etc., but that isn’t the case as of now. This setback, however, isn’t necessarily a permanent one. Future updates could easily introduce new features to the phone (1)’s Glyph Interface, although future predictions don’t hold much weight in a present-day review.

The Operating System

Perhaps one of the MOST impressive bits about the phone is its interface. As an ardent Google fan and Android enthusiast, the Nothing OS struck me as the cleanest, most beautiful version of Android I’ve ever seen on a modern phone. Outdoing perhaps even Google itself, the Nothing OS is crystal clean, incredibly responsive, and comes with absolutely NO bloatware. None, whatsoever. The only apps that come with the phone are Google’s app suite, YouTube + YouTube Music, and the basic apps you’d expect from your dialer and message apps to your camera and recorder apps.

Pei spoke at length about the latter during his summer reveal of the phone’s OS. There’s an analog beauty to the recorder app, and the camera app is intuitive and responsive. Speaking of responsive, the phone’s in-screen fingerprint reader is buttery smooth, unlocking the phone before you can even think about what you want to do next.

The OS also ditches the signature 3-button Android interface for a bar that feels heavily inspired by the iPhone. At times I did miss the back button, but the bar is something you’ll easily get used to… and if you’re an iOS convert, it’s something you’ll find very familiar. Notably missing in the OS, however, is Pei’s vision of an expansive ecosystem. Pei fired shots against Apple for their walled garden and claimed that the Nothing OS wouldn’t be as restrictive. Promises were made of an open ecosystem with integrations for all sorts of products, but that feels like something that won’t happen overnight. Here’s hoping.

The Camera

I’ll keep this part short and sweet. The camera is GREAT… for its price. Don’t expect the phone (1) to dethrone an iPhone Pro or a Pixel 6, but apples to apples, you can expect that the phone (1) will put up a really good fight. The phone’s capable of recording 4K video and shooting with a 50-megapixel output in RAW format. The videos aren’t exceptional – the phone’s image stabilization system feels great in the viewfinder, but the videos still feel slightly choppy. The photos, however, are surprisingly good. The ultrawide camera takes great landscape shots (although there’s a slight white balance shift as you switch between cameras), the portrait/pano/expert modes work pretty well, and I was pleasantly surprised by the macro mode (although there’s a fair amount of computational distortion + blur happening around the edges). The front-facing camera does a stellar job too, with the portrait mode being just about as good as it can get. With just two lenses on the back, the phone (1) manages to take on the 3 and 4-lensed flagships.

Shot on the Nothing phone (1)

Shot on the Nothing phone (1)

The Performance + Battery

The one significant hardware setback I had with this phone was its tendency to rapidly heat up. The phone comes with an aluminum frame and a glass back, both of which heat up quite significantly (sometimes even while charging). While the phone’s designed to do some heavy lifting, it does heat up a bit (especially right behind the hole-punch camera on the front) – enough to make you feel a little uncomfortable. Keeping the camera app open for 5-6 minutes (or even running a heavy game) can cause the phone’s top edge to get warm and even hot sometimes. This problem could be limited to just my handset, although it’s certainly the first thing I noticed about the phone as I put it to charge for the first time.

Speaking of charge, a 4500 mAh battery on the inside does a decent job of getting you through the day. Moderate usage will comfortably get you through the day with just one charge, although if you’re relying on many apps, using heavy programs, and just keeping your phone running for hours, you may need to bust out your charger for a bit. That being said, it’s worth reminding you that the Nothing phone (1) doesn’t come with a charger inside the box.

The Price

While it’s important to judge a phone objectively, its price says a lot about its intent and overall quality both intentionally and unintentionally. With the Nothing phone (1), the intent to disrupt the current status quo is extremely evident. When presented to people without context, nobody would ever guess that this phone is in the sub $500 category. It’s an extremely compelling alternative to phones almost double its price, as far as aesthetics, branding, and vision go… however, the fact that the phone is priced at roughly $499 makes me be a little more critical of its capabilities and flaws. That being said, the $499 price tag is probably the best thing about the Nothing phone (1). I can confidently say that it’s probably the best phone you can buy for that price, and while I don’t see it dethroning the flagship iPhone any time soon, you can expect that it’ll cause a major dent in the Android market, stealing customers from OnePlus, Nord, Poco, and even Google. Who knows, even potential iPhone SE buyers could switch over to the Nothing brand.

The Verdict

For a new company just trying to make its mark in the pretty vast sea of smartphones, Nothing does a phenomenal job. I do tend to take shots at the company for how much they hype stuff up, but given how young they are and how far ahead their competitors have gotten, it seems like a winning strategy. After all, they did a much better job marketing their product and generating interest than Google ever did for the Pixel phones.

My verdict hinges heavily on the phone’s impressions and its price. For starters, even though Carl paints a vision of Nothing offering an alternative to Apple’s walled garden, don’t quite expect the phone (1) to be an iPhone replacement. The phone (1) is still a first attempt, and has a long way to go if it needs to overtake Apple’s 15-year headstart in the smartphone market. Carl’s entire vision of an open ecosystem seems like something that’s still a work in progress, so it’s important to take note of what you’re getting NOW rather than what’s being promised a year or two later.

What you’re getting NOW is a pretty slick-looking phone that’s full of surprises and doesn’t break the bank. The phone (1)’s UI is super minimal and buttery smooth (thanks to that 120Hz display) and stands out clearly against the bloated phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, etc… but its heating issues stood out within the first hour of using the phone. It seems like something maybe an update could fix, but whether that would mean throttling the performance is something I can only speculate.

However, what keeps bringing me back to this phone is its price. It costs 60% of what I paid for my OnePlus 8 Pro two years back but feels just as incredible (if not better). At that price point, you’re more likely to be impressed with a Nothing phone than you are with some other mid-tier Android device. For a first smartphone release from a nascent brand, Nothing definitely deserves to pat itself on the back. I can’t wait to see where the brand goes from here.

Click Here to Visit the Nothing Website

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Nothing Watch (1) concept is a glass skinned wearable for young buyers

All the hype around the mid-range rockstar, Nothing Phone (1), is not a mere fad as the smartphone is designed for simplicity and deeper interaction. The brand’s inaugural product, the ear (1) TWS earbuds also garnered attention for good reason. So, what direction will Car Pei’s adventure head onto next? If we are to believe this concept design, it’s going to be a classy wearable.

A smartwatch that carries the brand’s signature see-through aesthetics and a simple design that lays focus on functionality.  What’s it going to be called from all the presumable options? Well, quite obviously the Nothing Watch (1). What else could a Nothing gadget be named other than this.

Designer: JunSeo Oh

The concept design smartwatch is as attractive a wearable could be imagined as, and the Apple Watch influence is predictable. That’s because the official Nothing Phone (1) has the evident structural semblance to the iPhone 13. That transparent dial, sides and the backplate makes me wish this product actually hits Carl’s checklist for the next winning product to create ripples in the market.

This one is not the sole concept design envisioning an incoming smartwatch gadget from the company – Gian Luigi Singh’s Wrist (1) smartwatch concept is a prime example. That one though had more of an iPhone 13 like design inspiration to it, while the concept by JunSeo is more eye-pleasing according to my perspective. The see through character is more attractive, and the renders created by the designer clearly display the unique persona of this 45mm ceramic case smartwatch.

The crown and the mode selector buttons on the side expose the innards just like on the backplate made of clear glass. For ergonomic comfort and better readability for the sensors, the glass is a slightly raised from the middle section to sit flush on the skin without any discomfort. The glass-skinned look is complemented by the high quality strap in white.

Looking at the logical aspect of things, it’ll be pretty unlikely that Nothing will go for this all out transparent look, as we’ve seen in the recently released smartphone design. However, these see-through aesthetics do appeal me wildly without doubt, and it gets my thumbs up for the uniqueness of design.

 

 

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Make your iPhone 13 Max Pro or Galaxy S22 Ultra to look like Nothing Phone (1) for a change

Nothing Phone (1) is finally here after the immense hype – focused majorly on its Glyph interface LED lights on the rear that makes it stand out from the other mobile devices. Whether or not the smartphone lived up to its hype is too early to judge, but the transparent rear has surely turned eyeballs in the tech industry.

No one can deny the out-of-the-box design of Nothing Phone (1) – though there is the obvious iPhone 13 inspiration – the device has to be practical enough as a daily driver. For now, that Glyph interface has got everyone talking positively, and D Brand has even created custom skins for other smartphones to cover them up in the sci-fi futuristic look!

Designer: Dbrand

Yes, this is the coolest way to get that super cool translucent rear without shelling out money for the Nothing Phone (1). The device outfitter pros have created a line-up of cool case covers dubbed “Something” for the major flagships on the market. The attractive skin will be available for devices including the iPhone Pro Max, Pixel 6 Pro and the Samsung S22 Ultra. Depending on the response for these devices, support for even more handsets is inevitable. Dbrand plans to release a Nintendo Switch version too which will be interesting for mobile gamers.

Dbrand has been known for its snarky tactics in the past and in their pitch for this particular accessory, they suggested that “Something is better than Nothing.” On their website, it’s clearly mentioned that they could get a copyright notice for theft, but their belief is – this is plagiarism not theft of any kind. For buyers though, this is a nice prospect if they want to stick to their Apple, Samsung or Google devices but enjoy Nothing’s unique rear look. Especially for ones who won’t have the option to buy the Car Pei’s second offering in their region.

The skin shows the internals of the compatible device and with the Something branding in Nothing’s signature font, the users won’t complain. Of course, the Glyph interface will be missing, but still, a good look to flaunt. The detailing on these skins and cases is intricate – for instance – the S22 Ultra version has the S Pen placed inside the slot. The skin version of the Nothing Phone (1) themed rear is available for the aforementioned devices at a price tag of $24.95 while the grip case goes for $49.90. So, will you ultimately be going for Nothing or hold on to Something!

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The Nothing phone (1) launch event was an oddly informal alternative to Apple’s polished keynotes

This keynote could have been an email…

After leaking the entire design online and giving tech YouTubers a first look, there was little left for Carl Pei to tell us about the phone… and that’s precisely what he did. First, he sat at a local cafe, and then moved to a tiny empty auditorium, seated for a majority of the event unlike any executive from your typical Silicon Valley keynote event. All this, Carl said, was Nothing’s way of challenging the status quo by being more ‘authentic’ (the event, he claimed, was also filmed entirely on the phone (1)). The cameras then moved to a corporate/community event in London, where the focus went from the phone itself to the company partners and design/development team. With as many as 80,000 people watching online, this was an odd way to reveal a product they hyped for so long. One person in the comments said, “Can’t believe we waited this long just to be told what we already knew about the phone”.

Back last month I predicted that the phone (1) design leak would put a lot of pressure on the company to have a grand slam launch. After leaking first the glyph, then the design, then the features, and then the tech specs, there was ‘nothing’ left to say about the phone. Heck, people even roughly knew what this thing was going to be priced at and where it was going to sell. However, I present to you, the Nothing phone (1).

Pei described the phone (1)’s glyph interface in detail, highlighting (quite literally) how it instantly set the smartphone apart from the sea of existing phones out there. The frame comes made of aluminum, making the phone (1) feel significantly lighter than the iPhone pro series, which comes with a stainless steel frame. Pei mentioned that the aluminum used in the frame was entirely recycled, and half the plastics used in the phone (1) were bioplastics too. The phone (1) is also the first known smartphone to also recycle all the tin used in its internal soldering, but whether the phone (1) is easily repairable wasn’t really discussed at all.

The front and back panels are both Gorilla Glass 5, although there was no official mention of how durable the phone is, and what degree of waterproofing it has (it would be a shame for water to leak into the back and condense around the glyph interface. The phone comes outfitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G+ processor, and Pei was especially eager to fire shots at other companies for their bloated OS, pointing how lightweight the Nothing OS was (although that’s available as a launcher for regular Android phones too). The OS also is built around interoperability and interconnectedness, as Carl mentioned the company worked with Tesla to allow the phone (1) to remotely operate your EV, letting you remotely blink its headlights or switch the AC on. This does leave us desiring for more, given that Pei’s boasted so much about how Nothing is creating its open ecosystem.

All in all though, the phone (1) is an objectively good phone on paper and remains to be proved by reviewers in the coming weeks. The screen has uniform bezels thanks to the use of a flexible OLED (something that even top-notch Android phones today don’t offer) and comes with a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth buttery transitions and usage. It also supports 10 million colors with HDR10+ rivaling the Dolby Vision in the iPhone. The phone (1) as is clearly evident, comes with two cameras on the back, although Pei mentions they’re both built to be ‘primary cameras’ with 50MP Sony sensors behind each (one of them is a 114° ultra-wide camera, slightly lesser than apple’s own 120° ultrawide shooter… but the most understated yet important feature on the phone (1) remains its price, which starts at £399 GBP (or $475 USD). While this won’t put a dent in the iPhone sales (the phone (1) won’t even sell in USA), it’s definitely going to make other Android companies bleed… mainly OnePlus. I’m sure that’ll make Pei smile just a little bit.

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I was genuinely excited about the Nothing phone (1)… and then they leaked the design online

Now I feel nothing.

It isn’t common for a company to just leak their own designs before officially launching, but nothing about what Nothing does is common. It’s positioned itself as the underdog, the outliar, and when I woke up today to see that the company’s official Twitter handle just randomly outed their own phone’s design, I was confused. However, after quite a few hours of mulling over it, I’ve come across a few realizations – some obvious, some not so much. The most obvious one? This phone looks nothing special… and I now have EVEN higher expectations for the actual launch, otherwise this seems like yet another smartphone, albeit with a transparent design.

The Design

Nothing officially revealed the rear of the phone (one could say that this is pretty much the entire phone’s design) online after months of teasing and cryptic imagery, and now I feel underwhelmed… but more on that later. The phone looks fairly regular, with a transparent fascia that lets you see the inner components. In fact, slap a case on it and it won’t look any different from the iPhone 12. Those weird patterns on the back, which Pei teased in March, are in fact lights that glow based on what you’re doing with the phone. I assume the camera light glows when the camera is on, the lower exclamation glows when there’s a notification, and the arc around the wireless charging coil glows when your phone’s on low battery (there’s a mockup image below). That being said, there isn’t much more to the design as of this leak. We already know what the front will look like, given that Pei gave us a brief on the Nothing launcher back in March.

The ‘Leak’

With the leak, Nothing confirmed a few thoughts of mine. Firstly, everything this company does is backed by a LOT of hype (something that our patience will run out for eventually), and secondly, there’s a fair chance that the core team at Nothing knew that people will find this underwhelming. Let me explain. The first part, the hype, is fairly obvious. Having a small tech company succeed in today’s day and age is near impossible. Unless you hype up your products and sell them at an incredibly compelling price, there’s little you can do to create that fan community. It’s something OnePlus did before finally getting absorbed by Oppo and pretty much following the ‘either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain’ character arc. With Pei’s second act, hype and price formed the marketing backbone yet again. The philosophy was strong – we’re going back to zero, to the chalkboard. We’re reinventing tech. The hype was stronger, hiring Teenage Engineering, the former design head of Dyson, strategic leaks, cryptic announcements, delayed gratification. However, if the story about the boy who called wolf is any indication, that strategy has an incredibly low shelf life when you overhype and underdeliver. Now to the second part. Exactly 3 years ago, 15th June 2019 to be precise, Google randomly leaked their Pixel 4 design on Twitter pretty much exactly the way Nothing leaked their phone. The design was a stark deviation from the Pixel 1, 2, and 3 designs from before, and it was widely speculated that instead of a negative response on the day of the launch, pre-emptively leaking your design online was a great way of ‘softening the blow’. If people know what to expect, they won’t expect something more or something else. The phone (1) is mirroring a lot of those ‘vibes’, because the response has been fairly tepid. Customers can’t see how the phone (1) is as different as Nothing claims it is, with a lot of people rightfully pointing out that it looks exactly like a transparent version of the white iPhone 12.

Personal Thoughts

It’s natural for designs to polarize us and it’s natural for me, as a design observer and human, to get polarized, but here’s what I genuinely believe. The reveal didn’t match the build-up. That’s all. Pei promised something ground-breakingly different, and the Nothing phone (1) looks EXACTLY like an iPhone 12 with a transparent back. Sure, it’s neatly designed, and looks rather nice with all-white inner components, but if Pei was hoping for something as vastly different as the Cybertruck, this clearly isn’t it. It’s still a candybar phone, still has cameras the way you’d expect, wireless charging, etc. Aside from being transparent and having glowing lights on the back, this feels like just another Android phone. In fact, I was bantering with a colleague and he ended up saying something rather revealing. The phone (1) embodies the ‘sex sells’ idea but in tech. Instead of an opaque Android phone, here’s an Android phone with its clothes off, in sexy lingerie.

This now puts pressure on the July event, when Pei will take the stage to fully announce the phone and its features. The Nothing launcher is currently available in beta on the Google Play Store, so if Pei has to compel people to buy the hardware instead of just using the free launcher, the phone will potentially have to move mountains and do much more than being transparent and affordable…

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What was that cryptic logo during Carl Pei’s Nothing phone (1) announcement? Here are our thoughts.

Like most people, I too was baffled to see that strange white-on-black pictogram when Carl teased the Nothing phone (1). Surely it meant something. Or did it mean ‘nothing’? Well, knowing the company’s ability and need to keep the hype train constantly moving, I’m sure that strange line-art wasn’t just randomly generated. Here are a few thoughts that immediately sprung to mind.

The most widely circulated interpretation of the symbol came from concept-designer Ben Geskin. Geskin’s design turned the C in the top left corner into a camera bump, and let the rest of the symbols naturally fall in line. This sort of opened up a few possibilities – firstly, of a wireless charging coil on the back (that’s what that main shape seems to be), although, along with the vertical line below that, it sort of looks like Apple’s MagSafe connector. Here’s what they look like side by side.

While I’m pretty sure Nothing can’t use the words MagSafe to announce such a feature (it would violate Apple’s trademarks), Carl did mention the fact that the phone was built to work seamlessly with products from other companies. Could the Nothing phone (1) have a magnetic connector on the back? Well, just the realist in me says that it’s highly unlikely, although the idea of having a wireless charging coil on the back that’s visible through a transparent facade sounds much more plausible.

Here’s a look at a render of the Nothing phone (1) concept kept right beside the Nothing ear (1). I have to admit that they do look like a part of the same product family!

What about those lines, though? Well, your guess is as good as mine, although the diagonal line on the top right, along with the letter C feels a lot like the prefix in Command Prompt. I’m clearly reading tea leaves at this point, but Pei did allude to the fact that the Nothing OS was going to be lightweight, powerful, flexible, and in black-and-white. Sounds an awful lot like Command Prompt to me from under my tin foil hat, but I’m obviously going off the deep end. At the same time, the vertical dot and dash at the bottom sort of looks like power and volume keys, don’t they?

Enough of weird speculation about the back; let’s move to the front of the device. While Geskin’s concept shows a hole-punch camera in the center, a fleeting glimpse of the Nothing OS preview made me think otherwise. Pei did mention that the clock and battery indicator would permanently sit on the top left and right corners, making it pretty clear that the Nothing phone (1) would either have a hole punch camera or a notch camera… or was he hinting at something different? When the Nothing OS preview shows the camera app opening, there’s a downward-facing arrow right where the hole punch camera would sit (refer to the image below). This leads me to believe that Nothing actually has something better in store as far as the front-facing camera goes, because why else would a digital element be in the UI if there was, in fact, a hole punch camera at that location?

The only thing we can conclusively say about the Nothing phone (1) is that it’s coming in summer and it’ll run Nothing OS. Maybe looking at the Android launcher (which debuts next month) will give us a clearer picture of what to expect. That being said, it’s fun to imagine what the phone can look like, and what it’s capable of. Even if we’re completely wrong in our predictions, Carl definitely got one thing right. He got us hyped about tech again…

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“Compelling alternative to Apple.” Carl Pei wants Nothing to be a tech juggernaut with an open ecosystem

Much to our chagrin, Carl Pei didn’t announce the highly anticipated Nothing phone (1) at the March 23rd event, but he used the keynote to make the company’s vision clear – Nothing isn’t merely an Audio Company. It’s a community-driven tech startup that wants to be the “compelling alternative to Apple” by creating products that delight, deliver optimism, but most importantly, don’t restrict its users. Pei was quick to point out that the Nothing OS would be uniquely calibrated to bring the best out of all tech, delivering a seamless, top-notch experience even if you decided to use Apple accessories with your Nothing phone. In every way, it’s aiming to be a company that uplifts all tech, instead of simply uplifting itself.

The keynote could broadly be broken down into 4 separate announcements – Carl Pei’s vision for the company and the journey so far, the announcement of the upcoming phone (1) device, the debut of the Nothing OS (which will be available as a launcher on Android in April), and the allocation of $10 million in community investment, directed at Nothing’s community of fans and patrons.

Just like with the cryptic release of a render prior to the ear (1) reveal, Carl gave us a taste of a simple logo, hinting at the phone which is expected to drop in Summer. In cryptically talking about the phone, he mentioned the genesis of the iPhone and how it created excitement within the tech community – an excitement which has died down 15 years later, as companies simply create new phones by moving camera lenses around a rectangular box. Carl also spoke about a big tech ‘incumbent’ blocking their ability to build their product and supply chain (could it be Pei’s old company OnePlus owned by Oppo and BBK Electronics?). The NOTHING phone (1), which Pei mentions is now almost entirely ready, was created thanks to support from companies like Google, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Sony.

While the phone (1) never got announced, the keynote did give us a taste of Nothing OS, a version of Android that Pei mentions has 40% fewer pre-installed bloatware apps. The OS delivers optimal processing power based on the apps you use and how frequently you use them, ensuring a smooth performance with seamless transitioning, while background apps that aren’t being used are closed to allocate more RAM to apps that are currently active. The OS itself looks like ‘nothing’ too, as it aims to let you use the phone without getting distracted by animations, fonts, notifications, etc. The tech blends into the background, giving you a phone that feels great and intuitive to use.

Moreover, Pei fired shots at Apple for their ‘walled garden’ approach to design and product integration. He also pointed out that the minute you tried to move away from the Apple ecosystem, there was a palpable lack of integration, and the experience was scattered and shoddy, at best. To that very end, the Nothing phone (1) will be designed to work well and bring out the best in all sorts of accessories, with the company even developing special separate widgets for third-party products, like AirPods and Teslas.

The Nothing phone (1), which the company is slated to announce in summer 2022, will come with 3 years of software updates and 4 years of security updates, letting you use the phone for at least 4 years before you need to make a switch. There’s no word on design or pricing yet, although if the ear (1) was any indication, the phone (1) will almost certainly be a budget-friendly device.

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This Nothing phone (1) concept is outrightly something refreshing

With the Nothing smartphone just around the corner, the anticipation is higher than ever of what’s coming out from Carl Pei’s camp this time around. Could this concept Nothing phone (1) be anything like it?

Nothing smartphone is rumored for a next month launch with multiple leaks pointing towards the existence of the prototype version. In a recent development trusted tipster, Evan Blass shared a picture of Carl Pei in a conversation with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon – showing him a smartphone that everyone believes will be the upcoming gadget by the company. On zooming in, things get a bit blurry as the outline of the device and the camera bump on the back are distinguishable. More about the Nothing smartphone is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks, and the tech community is eager – including me!

Designer: Povilas Grigas

Until that happens and we get a close look at the off-beat phone (presumably) which is going to inculcate the transparent element, a concept design fuels our imagination. Just like the Nothing Phone (1) concept by Osho Jain, the see-through form factor of the imagined Nothing smartphone here is overpowering and for good reason. The ear (1) earbuds created a niche with their unique design highlighted by the see-through components, and the next product could follow suit.

This one too is called the Nothing phone (1) – what else could it be named otherwise! In a way carrying the DNA philosophy of creating tech that improves our lives without getting in the way of it. To be precise – tech that feels like nothing. Povilas Grigas’ concept design here is inspired by the old pacemakers, creating a refreshing form factor without compromising on the ergonomics and comfort. The inspiration explains the dynamic rear panel shape which has two camera bumps on each of the top corners.

Going beyond just the transparent rear panel showing off the innards, the designer envisions the Nothing phone (1) to get the Teenage Engineering influenced Gallium Nitride charger which is ultra-small and ultra-fast. Other than that, the concept design doesn’t reveal the front display of the device. So, we’re left to imagine that in our own daydreams.

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Nothing phone (1) breaks the ice with transparent design and rear fingerprint sensor

Nothing’s smartphone is one of the most anticipated gadgets of 2022 that we hope revives the stagnant design status quo. This concept design gives us a sneak-peak of what could be coming our way, and the transparent aesthetics is what’ll set the Nothing phone (1) phone apart from the crowded marketplace!

Carl Pei embarked on a fresh new journey with Nothing after the huge success at OnePlus, and things have grown from strength to strength ever since we came across “Nothing.”  The brand focusing on breaking the barriers between people and technology, created quite the buzz with the debut product, the ear (1) TWS earbuds in white, and more recently the black version found many takers too. The London-based brand announced in October their partnership with Qualcomm and total funding of $74 million so far. Things are looking forward to the launch of Nothing smartphone in 2022, powered by the Snapdragon chipset, and the anticipation is running high as to when a radically designed smartphone will be released from the camp.

How the phone will look is anybody’s guess right now, but it could get the same transparent design treatment as on the earbuds. I just love the idea of a smartphone with a transparent back showing off all the intricate hardware components. Design student Osho Jain shapes our vision of a transparent Nothing phone (1), and how it would actually look. The concept revolves around the same design philosophy that’s apparent in Nothing’s vision and their first-ever consumer product. The phone has a clear back panel immaculately showing the wireless charging coil and the camera module in a cool sea green color. The fingerprint sensor moves to the rear – indicated by the tactile touch of a red button.

At key places on the back, there are words etched on the panels covering the components. Things like “Rethinking Everything,” “Nothingness of this Universe” or “Power in Less.” The phone has a peculiar OnePlus feel to it, and I don’t blame Osho to go that way since Carl’s contribution in crafting the flagship killer has been pivotal in the brand’s success.

There’s no mention of the hardware specifications of the concept phone visualizing the future of Nothing, but we presume they are going to be flagship-level, at a much lower price tag. The focus of the concept here is on the form and the sleek shape of the phone’s rear. I can just keep staring at that back panel all day long, and not get bored, ever!

Designer: Osho Jain

 

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