After months of teasers, Nothing is finally ready to unveil the phone (1). From what we’ve seen so far, there’s a lot to like here: the design is unique thanks to the LEDs on the rear, and the hardware is on par with other mid-range phones. Nothing has shared too many details around the software itself, or the rest of the device, but we don’t have to wait long to find out what lies ahead.
To me, it feels like Nothing is trying to emulate Apple, and it won’t be the first Android maker to do so. To its credit, the brand is doing something different in this segment, and it’s great to see. Ultimately, the success of the phone (1) will depend on two things: value and software. There are over a dozen excellent mid-range phones out there today with little to no difference in hardware or camera prowess, and nothing has recourse but to position your phone depending on market conditions.
Although Nothing does Apple-like marketing work, the fact is that the phone (1) is not a high-end device. Apple is able to command a premium for its phones due to its cachet; In most parts of the world, an iPhone is a status symbol. While Nothing has done a good job generating interest in its device, it doesn’t have a cachet like that.
Nothing looks to design as a differentiator instead, but that alone isn’t enough to make the phone stand out. Where I think the brand can really make its mark is in the software. Currently, there is a clear lack of devices with a clean Android interface. OnePlus was once the standard-bearer for avid users looking for a vanilla interface, but its integration with ColorOS has changed that.
There are only four manufacturers that still offer a clean user interface without any customization: Google, Motorola, Nokia and ASUS. Google doesn’t sell its hardware in most parts of the world – making it a questionable option – and Motorola’s hardware is often lackluster, and its phones don’t get as many updates as the industry norm. Nokia, meanwhile, seems keen to release the same entry-level phone year after year, and while ASUS is very successful, it’s taking too long to bring its phones to the US and other key markets. .
In short, there is a lot of potential here. Much of what Nothing is doing right now has parallels to OnePlus’ early days, and if it manages to deliver a clean user interface without any bloatware, the phone (1) has a good chance of becoming a bestseller. .
As for what constitutes good revenue, Nothing’s estimates will be very different from Samsung’s. It’s easy to forget that Nothing is a year-old brand at this point, and while it’s garnered a lot of attention over the past 12 months, its scale is tiny compared to Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme. and even the hardware efforts of Google. .
For example, if Samsung sold less than 1 million units of the Galaxy A53, it would be considered a failure. But if the phone (1) approached one million sales, it would be a historic feat for Nothing. After all, the ear(1) wireless headphones only sold over 500,000 units in the last year.
Plus, Nothing doesn’t need to make sure it doesn’t run into the same hurdles that plague other smaller brands: availability and after-sales service. Nothing goes without a doubt with smaller production runs, it must have adequate inventory of the phone (1) to meet initial demand, and it must have the after-sales service infrastructure ready to operate the launch day.
I’ve been reviewing phones for just over eight years, and in that time I’ve broken half a dozen devices (not a bad average considering how I use phones ). The first was the Xiaomi Mi 3; I bought the device on its launch day in India in July 2014, and it was delivered two days later. In my rush to upgrade to the device, I broke the SIM card tray – it had a mini-SIM slot and I was using a micro-SIM at the time (Nexus 4).
While I was using a SIM cutter, the SIM card didn’t quite fit into the case and I had to take it to a service center to turn off the device. There was only one problem; no one had heard of Xiaomi at the time, and since it was an online-only brand at that time, there were no stores where I could get the Mi 3 repaired. Xiaomi partnered with a local service provider, but since the phone had just been launched, they didn’t have the necessary parts.
Of course, a lot has changed in this area over the last eight years, but far too few brands pay attention to after-sales service. Nothing needs to get it right, and while it has a burgeoning list of service centers set up for the ear (1), it’s nowhere as extensive as other brands.
I think the phone (1) can stand out in a crowded category that counts the likes of Pixel 6a, Galaxy A53, Realme GT Neo 3, and Nord 2T. Nothing has managed to generate much interest in the device, and now comes the hardest part: delivering a phone that lives up to expectations.