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The Nothing Phone 1 really looks like a transparent iPhone

Nothing has finally given us an official glimpse of its first smartphone, the Nothing Phone 1, which is slated to launch next month. The design is fresh and borrows from the transparent aesthetics that the brand introduced with the Nothing Ear 1 true wireless earbuds last year.

There are some similarities with the iPhone X owing to the dual-lens camera array positioned in a pill-shaped camera island. However, the standout elements are the illuminating light strips underneath the transparent rear panel. These form a distinct pattern by wrapping around the camera lenses and the wireless charging coil.

Nothing Phone 1 official render
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The branding is quite minimal, and there is no word on if Nothing will offer its first phone in colors other than white. Given the fact that this is a transparent design, there is always a possibility of swapping the clear glass with see-through black glass and matching paint job on the sides.

So far, the innards of the Nothing Phone 1 have remained a secret, with the only official confirmation being the presence of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip ticking under the hood. There is also no word on whether Nothing has gone with a wide + ultrawide pairing for the rear camera — or if buyers will find a telephoto zoom camera instead of the ultra-wide-angle snapper.

There’s also heavy iPhone 12 inspiration given the decidedly flat sides. It’s no surprise, though, as Nothing’s head Carl Pei name-dropped Apple as one of the inspirations behind Nothing’s intent to chase its own product ecosystem. So far, Nothing only has wireless earbuds and the upcoming Phone 1. The company is tight-lipped about what’s next, but it won’t be a surprise to see it enter the smart home market or even the computing segment down the road.

Leaks are harder to contain nowadays and many of you have been waiting for a long time. So here it is. This is phone (1) design.

More to come. Tune in on 12 July.

— Carl Pei (@getpeid) June 15, 2022

The road ahead isn’t rosy

On the software side, the Phone 1 will run Nothing OS, an Android skin that focuses on minimalism with a few neat product integrations in tow. My colleague Tushar Mehta tried out the beta preview of Nothing’s launcher, and remarked that it “feels suitable for nothing upon the first look.” While stock Android purists might appreciate the stripped-down approach of Nothing OS, eschewing standout features in the name of minimalism just might backfire.

For now, it’s unclear which segment the Nothing Phone 1 is aimed at, but it won’t be easy making an impact — especially after riding the hype train for months. The U.S. market could use a competitive midrange phone, but in the presence of devices like the Google Pixel 6a, Samsung’s Fan Edition phones, and the iPhone SE, the road ahead won’t be easy.

As for the Asian markets (and also Europe to some extent), Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo won’t easily give any ground to Nothing. If the Nothing Phone 1 is aiming for flagship glory, it would be even harder for customers to put their trust – and a fat wad of cash – in an upstart instead of established players like Apple, Samsung, Google, and OnePlus.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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