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Is that Nothing’s first phone in photo of founder Carl Pei?

Nothing, the company started by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, apparently has a phone ready to debut very soon. Pei hasn’t said anything about those plans yet, but he has now been photographed showing a smartphone to Cristiano Amon, the chief of the world’s top smartphone chipmaker, Qualcomm. It is likely no coincidence, especially in the light of recent reports.

The picture, which comes courtesy of Evan Blass, aka @evleaks, shows Pei holding a phone clad in black. The image is not particularly high-resolution, and Twitter’s compression certainly doesn’t help, but there’s little doubt that the object in Pei’s hands is a phone. Per a TechCrunch report, Nothing actually showcased a phone to a small group of industry insiders behind closed doors at MWC 2022, which kicked off in late February.

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Nothing's Carl Pei, right, shows a phone to Qualcomm's Cristiano Amon.
Nothing chief Carl Pei, right, with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. (Credit: Evan Blass)

It is also no coincidence that Qualcomm Senior Vice President Enrico Salvatori tweeted a picture with Pei on the MWC 2022 floor, while also adding that he was looking forward to a collaboration with Pei. Nothing’s founder also dropped a hint about launching an Android phone a few weeks ago, while Nothing’s official handle teased that March was going to be fun for the company.

Not much is known about the phone itself at this point, except for rumors that it will borrow some of the transparent aesthetics from the Nothing ear (1) noise-canceling earbuds. Nothing won’t be the first brand to experiment with see-through design elements on a phone. The LG GD900 did it all the way back in 2009 with its transparent keypad.

Good to see my friend @getpeid at #MWC22. Looking forward to working together. @nothing

— Enrico Salvatori (@E_Salvatori) March 1, 2022

Xiaomi has launched multiple Explorer Edition flagships rocking a transparent rear panel since 2018. HTC also tried the formula with its U-series phones a few years ago, while China’s Red Magic continues to sell packed-to-the-gills gaming phones with some elements of transparency for the rear cover’s design.

Nothing can make a splash if it can repeat what OnePlus was once known for — selling powerful phones at an unbeatable price. And with Pei at the helm, expectations are high that his experience with OnePlus will help him deliver a solid product backed by a ton of hype.

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