Skip to main content

Nothing’s Phone 1 is coming and it could be really something

Technology company Nothing is building a smartphone and it’s coming out this summer. While Nothing may be new to you, you could be familiar with its co-founder Carl Pei, who is better known for co-founding OnePlus before starting Nothing. With the announcement of the phone comes confirmation of a new Android operating system, all built around Nothing’s commitment to intuitive, seamless-to-use tech, from which the company takes its name.

Carl Pei stands in front of the Nothing Phone 1 teaser at the announcement event.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The phone will be called the Phone 1, stylized as Phone (1), a continuation of the naming theme seen on Nothing’s first product, the Ear 1 true wireless headphones. The news was shared during an online event called The Truth, and while the phone’s full specifications are still unknown, Pei has shared some interesting details about what to expect.

Perhaps least surprising is that the Phone 1 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Nothing announced a partnership with Qualcomm in October 2021, and Pei was photographed with Qualcomm executives during Mobile World Congress, where it was rumored he showed off a prototype of the phone behind closed doors.

The design of the Nothing Phone 1 was not shown, and only the odd shape in the image above was presented as a hint of what’s to come. Pei promised the design is something to look forward to, but it’s hard to visualize based on the abstract teaser, although having seen the Ear 1 headphones, it’s reasonable to expect transparent plastic to be used to enhance the equally inevitable minimalist design.

Less expected is the announcement that Phone 1 will use an Android-based operating system called Nothing OS. Phones running Android are nothing new, but Nothing refers to the software as an “open and seamless ecosystem that will effortlessly connect and integrate Nothing products and products from other world-leading brands,” which suggests it may be something like Huawei’s HarmonyOS, just without being tethered to a single brand. Pei wasn’t shy about which company it considers its main competition, naming Apple as the brand it’s targeting with its growing ecosystem.

Nothing OS coming soon

We won’t have to wait until the Phone 1 is released before trying Nothing OS, as it will be available as a launcher for selected Android phones starting in April. Nothing says the software will have a “coherent interface,” and include custom fonts and sounds, while also taking the best features of Android and integrating them into an operating system built around the essentials.

As smartphone operating systems get more complicated, we are keen to see how Nothing OS fits with the company’s ethos of making tech more accessible. During the presentation ,Pei showed several examples of how the operating system will look. Expect to see fonts using the same pixelated style from the Ear 1, a lot of minimalist screen designs, and simple animations. The software will receive three years of Android OS updates, and four years of security updates, which matches several other manufacturers, but isn’t as extensive as Samsung’s five-year commitment.

Pei also said Nothing will open another round of community-based investment should you want to get involved at a deeper level than simply buying its products. Starting April 5, it hopes to raise $10 million from the new community round. This follows its first community investment effort in March 2021, during which it raised $1.5 million.

The Nothing Phone 1 is expected to launch during the summer, but an exact release date has not been announced yet. The Nothing OS launcher will arrive in April, and we will bring you more news when we have it. In the meantime, find out why we’re excited about Nothing and its first smartphone.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Nothing’s iMessage for Android app is unbelievably bad
The Nothing Chats splash page in the app.

Earlier this week, Nothing did the unexpected and launched the "Nothing Chats" app for the Nothing Phone 2. The premise? Let anyone with a Nothing Phone 2 send and receive texts via iMessage. Nothing partnered with Sunbird to make Nothing Chats work, with Nothing essentially using Sunbird's own messaging tech to bring iMessage to Android.

It was a bold idea ... but one that was short-lived. That's because Nothing Chats is already dead (for the time being) due to a shocking number of security vulnerabilities that were discovered almost immediately. And by security vulnerabilities, we don't mean minor oversights that could have been easy to overlook. We're talking about major, game-breaking design flaws that massively compromise the personal information of anyone who used Nothing Chats.
The problem with Nothing Chats
iMessage on an iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and Nothing Chats on a Nothing Phone 2 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Read more
One of my favorite Samsung features is coming to OnePlus phones
The back of the OnePlus 11 and OnePlus 10 Pro.

OnePlus 10 Pro (left) and OnePlus 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Android is slowly, but steadily narrowing the precious gulf between phones and PCs. After all, seamless device pairing across iPhones and Macs has been a strong selling point for Apple. Remember the Phone Link system that lets an Android phone offer the same kind of cross-device benefits for an Android-Windows pair as the Apple ecosystem does? Well, OnePlus (and Oppo) are embracing it.

Read more
One of our favorite Android phones just got its own iMessage app
Nothing Chats app on a. phone.

Nothing is trying to bridge the great blue/green bubble divide for Android users of iMessage. This is not a personal crusade to shatter walls and open windows, as much as Nothing CEO Carl Pei would want you to believe that. Instead, Nothing is piggybacking on tech created by New York-based startup Sunbird. 
Technically, the Sunbird app can be installed on any Android phone and it features a blue bubble for all iMessage text exchanges involving an Android phone. No more green bubble shame that could get you kicked out of groups for disrupting the harmony or even slim your dating chances. That’s how bad it is! 
Nothing is adopting the Sunbird tech and bundling it as its very own app under the name Nothing Chats. But here’s the fun part. The app only works on the Nothing Phone 2 and not the Nothing Phone 1. And this life-altering boon will only be bestowed upon users in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., or the EU bloc.

The app is currently in the beta phase, which means some iMessage features will be broken or absent. Once the app is downloaded on your Nothing Phone 2, you can create a new account or sign up with your Apple ID to get going with blue bubble texts. 
Just in case you’re concerned, all messages will be end-to-end encrypted, and the app doesn’t collect any personal information, such as the users’ geographic location or the texts exchanged. Right now, Sunbird and Nothing have not detailed the iMessage features and those that are broken. 
We made iMessage for Android...
The Washington Post tried an early version of the Nothing Chats app and notes that the blue bubble system works just fine. Texts between an Android device and an iPhone are neatly arranged in a thread, and multimedia exchange is also allowed at full quality. 
However, message editing is apparently not available, and a double-tap gesture for responding with a quick emoji doesn’t work either. We don’t know when these features will be added. Nothing's Sunbird-based app will expand to other territories soon. 
Sunbird, however, offers a handful of other tricks aside from serving the iMessage blue bubble on Android. It also brings all your other messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, in one place. This isn’t an original formula, as Beeper offers the same convenience.

Read more