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Nothing phone (1): Everything we know about the upcoming smartphone

Nothing has just announced a brand new smartphone, and here are all the details that have been revealed so far.

After all the rumours and anticipation, we’ve finally been treated to our first taste of the Nothing phone (1), the start-up brand’s very first smartphone. Here’s all that we know about it so far.

Release Date

The Nothing phone (1) will be launched on July 12, 2022.

After months of teasers, the date was finally revealed on the brand’s official Twitter account – along with the first picture of the device, as you can see above.

The phone (1) has already been announced as a network exclusive product in several regions; in the UK it will only be available with O2, in Germany it will only available with Telekom Deutschland, and in India it will only be available with Flipkart.

According to the brand’s frontman, Carl Pei, pre-orders for the device have already broken the significant milestone of 100,000 people, even though it’s an invite-only waiting list (with the sign-up process described in the below video.)

What’s more, some lucky users will manage to get their hands on a Nothing phone (1) before then. The brand announced a bidding war for the first 100 devices, which will have unique serial numbers, via an auction on StockX. Successful bidders will receive their device within 35 days of the auction (which began on 21 June), and the bids reached as high as $2,679 before the auction closed. From what we know so far, let’s just say that’s likely to be a very significant overpayment on the device’s actual retail price…

Price

According to the site RootMyGalaxy, which is admittedly an unfamiliar source, these following prices are given depending on each variant’s memory capacity:

  • 8GB RAM / 128GB storage: $397 (~£325/€377)
  • 8GB RAM / 256GB storage: $419 (~£345/€400)
  • 12GB RAM / 256GB storage: $456 (~£375/€433)

We’ll wait and see just how accurate those prices are, but given the specs it does seem that this handset will be a mid-range device rather than a flagship one, and these rumoured prices do appear to correspond with that.

Design

In June, we finally saw our first glimpse of the device itself, but before then the rumour mill was unusually quiet and we had to make do with Nothing’s own cryptic announcements.

The above picture, which came out when the launch date was announced, shows off the rear of the phone in all its glory for the first time. Sporting two camera sensors, the design is most remarkable for the see-through effect of the rear panel, which didn’t come as a huge surprise to us given the similarly transparent Ear (1) true wireless headphones already released by the brand. Additionally there seem to be some glowing lines among the component, with one surrounding the camera module, another around what we assume to be the wireless charging coil in he middle of the handset, and one pointing down towards the charging port. (As far as we know, the parrot is sold separately.)

Shortly after images were unveiled, the handset found its way into the capable clutches of famed tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD). This gave us a good look at the device’s unusual LED system, which isn’t just for looks; they can double as a fill light when taking shots and videos in the dark, and the lower strip lights up like a battery indicator to show much charge it’s got.

Specifications

The Nothing phone (1) will run on the Snapdragon 778G+ processor, as revealed when MySmartPrice spotted the device’s Geekbench scores. This is the same chip that features on the Motorola Edge 30, and it’s mid-range rather than flagship-level silicon.

What’s more, the tipster Yogesh Barr excluisvely revealed more of the specs list to the website 91mobiles.com. According to this source, we can expect to see a 120Hz OLED screen and a 4500mAh battery on board, while the photography set-up is formed of a 16-megapixel selfie camera and a dual 50-megapixel camera on the rear of the handset.

Software

Nothing OS is the name of the user interface that the Nothing phone (1) will sport, and this is the aspect we know the most about at this time.

The manufacturer claims to have captured “the best features of pure Android, distilling the operating system to just the essentials, where every byte has a purpose.” As you can tell, this means that it’s a very light touch, with what we’ve seen so far being very similar to stock Android. That’s not altogether surprising when you consider that the brand’s CEO is Carl Pei, formerly of OnePlus, a manufacturer that holds to a similar software philosophy.

Explaining himself at the keynote, Pei claimed that this stripped-down look would remove bloatware — “why copy the great apps that Google has already made?” he asked, rhetorically — but the phone will optimise processing power and RAM to ensure that these apps load and close very quickly.

A significant amount of the design language is about consistency; so the top widget and clock will remain uniform between the lock screen, always-on display, and home screen, and the hardware and software were designed in tandem so that one compliments the other.

The press release went on to describe Nothing OS as follows: “A coherent interface, the hardware seamlessly integrates with software through bespoke fonts, colours, graphical elements and sounds.” The above image shows widgets featuring prominently on the home screen, for both time and weather, with the latter of these using the same “dot matrix” design as the brand’s logo.

Pei summarised the design technology as balancing “raw technology with human warmth”, and claimed that the voice recorder app (pictured above) best exemplified this, with an interactive analogue tape recorder symbol that can be pushed back and forward with your finger to skip forward and back when playing back an audio file.

The first preview of this user interface in action came via a launcher that first became available to download “on select smartphone models from April.” However, truth be told, we were a little underwhelmed by its ultra-minimalist approach when we tried it out.

Users of the Nothing phone (1) will receive 3 years of OS updates, and 4 years of security updates.

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