Nothing spent a good portion of 2022 talking about its first phone, the Nothing Phone (1). It hyped the device using the OnePlus marketing playbook of trolling out bits of news and features leading up to launch to keep the world interested. We were actually pretty excited about it at one point. But then as we closed in on the actual launch, Nothing was like, “Oh yeah, it’s not coming to the US, hah…hah.”
They sold a story (again, at the last minute) of needing to focus on their home markets (UK and Europe) and that entering the US meant dealing with a frustrating US carrier system. They are indeed a small brand who is just getting started, so it makes sense on some level that investing in the certification and carrier process here might be a tough bill to swallow before first establishing yourself elsewhere.
Fast forward to this week and the Phone (1) still isn’t here. Nothing’s Carl Pei did talk with CNBC, though, and he explained in more detail why they skipped out on the US and suggested they might still launch a phone here one day, “potentially.”
According to Pei, they didn’t bring Phone (1) here because “you need a lot of additional technical support, to support all the carriers and their unique customizations that they need to make on top of Android” and that they just “weren’t ready.” Now, after selling 500,000 units of Phone (1) in other countries, the US could be the next target, as Nothing sees an opportunity to “obtain significant growth” here.
The statement from Pei on if they’ll come to the US is a masterclass is saying nothing. He said, “Now we are in discussions with some carriers in the U.S. to potentially launch a future product there.” So at the end of 2022, after launching a phone that everyone thought was coming here, yet didn’t, they are now having talks with carriers to potentially sell a futurephone here. That’s a whole lot of maybes without actually saying it.
The Nothing founder has said that the US is in their plans, but we have no idea which phone they could bring here or when. In a Tweet sent minutes before CNBC published their story, Pei seemed to be trying to get out in front of it some by shooting down any thought of him referring to a Nothing Phone (2) in the near future.
Phone (2) isn't launching anytime soon. We're focused on doing a few things well, and won't churn out dozens of products a year like many others.
Phone (1) is our main focus. We're cooking something really great in terms of software, Android 13 and beyond.
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) December 5, 2022
So for now, Nothing is focused on Phone (1) and (finally) updating it to Android 13. Maybe that means it’ll ship in the US in 2023 or maybe when he said they are “potentially” launching a phone here, he meant further down the road with Phone (2).
If anything, at least they didn’t go crypto. Shit, nevermind.