September 26, 2022

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No smartphone, nothing targeting Apple, not OnePlus

No smartphone, nothing targeting Apple, not OnePlus

The company’s CEO and former OnePlus co-founder Carl Bay announced today during a live broadcast that no smartphone will be launched for the first time this summer. It’ll be called Phone 1, and it runs on Android, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. And yes, that phone was Carl Bay Filmed showing Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon – Although it is wrapped in a box that protects privacy.

Phone 1 will be the company’s second product after its launch Ear 1 true wireless earbuds last year. A short teaser released today indicates that the phone could have a series of light bars built into its back, while a file The previous report claimed It can feature transparent design elements like the company’s earbuds.

But nothing is not ready to talk about the specifications or the price. During an interview with the edge Before today’s event, Pei was apprehensive about the function these light strips could serve in the final device. Can we take a fresh look at the notification light, which was once a standard problem across many Blackberry and Android phones, Including some from OnePlus?

“Maybe,” Bai annoys with a smile.

But when it comes to software, the CEO is more straightforward. Today, Nothing releases a series of images of Nothing OS, the Android cover it plans to ship to Phone 1. The images don’t reveal much about what the software can do, but Pei is keen to emphasize its looks, which consciously align with the rest of Nothing’s branding. The facade is a sea of ​​black, white, and red that relies so heavily on the dotted line that nothing is used for its logo.

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Bai is also affected by phone volume, an area he believes is often overlooked. “Our sound design is really cool,” he says, “so definitely check it out.”

Nothing on the home screen and widget.
Image: nothing

“A lot of organizations have big silos between different teams,” says Bay, explaining how the product team will often work separately from the design team, which will be separate from the software and marketing teams. None, he says, wants to offer a “unique vision” across its devices, which seems to be a challenge when the startup already has design teams operating in the UK, Sweden and China.

There’s no press release saying Phone 1’s Nothing OS will reduce Android to “only the essentials, where every byte has a purpose”. However, do not expect the phone to conjure a ghost primary phonealthough there is nothing I got the trademark rights early last year. Pei told me the acquisition was just about getting their brands back when “nothing” could have been called “essential.” In the end, though, “we decided nothing was probably better,” says Bey (use “better than nothing” jokes).

No goal, Pei says, is to create products with an individually focused design language across everything from hardware to software so that there’s no confusion about it from another company. It’s a tough task in a world of increasingly indistinguishable smartphones. Pei cites Dyson designs as having the kind of individuality he doesn’t want to emulate — it’s no coincidence that Adam Bates, former head of design for Dyson, recently joined None to be design director.

“because [Adam Bates] He had a very big role at Dyson, and was able to bring a lot of his old team with him,” Bay told me. “So we’re probably going to have one of the best industrial design teams in the world.” Bates works alongside Teenage Engineering’s Jesper Kouthoofd and Tom Howard, who both focus on the high-profile direction of Nothing’s Design.

While the look of Nothing OS in Phone 1 is a clear priority, what’s most important to the company is what the hardware represents: a critical step in Nothing’s attempt to build an ecosystem of interconnected devices. The strategy isn’t new – talk to me about it When the company was launched last year — but with the unveiling of the smartphone, the ecosystem now has a central device that anchors itself to it.

None lock screen OS.
Image: nothing

The always-on screen.
Image: nothing

The goal here is not to compete with other Android phones like the ones Pei launched when it was part of OnePlus. Instead, it is his desire to compete with Apple and the vast ecosystem often referred to as “walled garden;‘Pai specifically cites Apple adorable Universal Control as the kind of feature he’d like to see Nothing’s products capable of eventually, referring to the WWDC 2021 keyword where Apple Show drag and drop photo From iPad to iMac using a separate third MacBook – all completely wireless and without any pre-configuration.

Like Apple, whose ecosystem mixes first-party devices like phones, laptops, and true wireless earbuds with third-party products across platforms like HomeKit, nothing is planning to produce some of these same devices while relying on integrations with partners to grow the size of its ecosystem. . . So, nobody wants their phone to seamlessly control their unbranded earbuds while also being able to control other products like a Tesla car or Apple’s AirPods.

With that said, competing with an ecosystem of a company worth more than $2 trillion won’t be easy. For starters, there’s nothing that doesn’t have nearly as much of its tech suite as Apple. A feature like Universal Control is tricky enough for a company that controls all the pieces to pull off, let alone start running like nothing is built on top of another company’s operating system.

Pei doesn’t have a clear answer to me about how none plans to pull these kinds of ecosystem integrations, but he does think the company has something that draws other companies into it.

“I think we have a much easier time persuading partners because we’re helping them do a lot of work that they can’t do themselves,” Bay says. In fact, he sees almost nothing like one day acting as outside tech advisors to consumers for companies looking to launch new products, helping with everything from design to supply chains and engineering. “This is a comprehensive capability that we demonstrate in our partners.”

None CEO Carl Bay.
Image: nothing

The CEO stopped short of saying that nothing would produce white-label products for other companies to sell (“I think we’d be very insistent on stock ownership,” he says when I ask). But if, say, an old sports brand wants to get into the wearables launch, Pei doesn’t want to be any company they can turn to for help. Sounds a lot like this approach Chinese tech giant Xiaomi was a pioneerwhich has seen blending elements of corporate venture capital investment with an ecosystem approach to grow its formidable company.

Controlling an entire ecosystem can have its downsides, like the consumer lockout that comes with Apple’s infamous walled garden. One of the great things about a company that only produces headphones is that they are motivated to make their accessories work with everything. But that could change if you suddenly started producing both phones and earphones. “[Nothing earbuds] Nothing will work better with the smartphone because it’s built in at the system level and not just at the application level.”

Launching a smartphone is one thing, but trying to build an entire tech ecosystem to compete with the likes of Apple is even longer for a company that’s only released one product so far — especially when that product, the Earbuds, had some jagged edges at launch. But while Pei has big ambitions for Nothing, he says the company is taking things step by step in the near future. This means that the next step is the most important of all: starting Phone 1 actually.