The Nothing Phone (1) will try to compete with Apple and run ‘Nothing OS’

We've got our first look at Nothing's first smartphone, and it's quite interesting.

Nothing, the company founded by ex-OnePlus-founder Carl Pei, held an event today where it announced its first phone. The Phone (1), as it’ll be known, will be officially released this summer, and today’s event acted as a sort of preview for what’s to come.

Pei took the stage and did his usual “I invented the phone people will actually care about buying” routine, as well as place strong emphasis on the Nothing community and how much the company relies on it. He also shared some details about the phone, including a pretty detailed walkthrough of how it’ll be positioned: a direct competitor to Apple and its ecosystem.

In an interview with The Verge, Pei noted how it’s his desire to have a tight ecosystem of products that all work together at the system level. Pei specifically mentions Apple’s Universal Control as an example of how close he wants Nothing’s products to be. The company already has earbuds that will pair with the phone, and Pei says they’ll always work best with Nothing phones since they’re integrated at the system level.

Of course, the Phone (1) won’t only support other products with the Nothing logo. Pei said the software the phone runs on will focus on tying in non-Nothing products as well, like Apple’s AirPods and Teslas. It’s unclear how deep integration with these products will go without intervention from the companies that make them, but it’s certainly an interesting proposal.

Pei detailed that integration while speaking about Nothing OS, the skin that the company will use for Android on the Phone (1). The UI ties into the company’s dot matrix branding with a custom dot-based font sprinkled throughout the system. A custom sound pack will accompany the unique look which Pei drew a great deal of emphasis on during the presentation. Overall, it’s designed to deliver a “fast, smooth, and personal experience” for the end user, echoing back previous “fast and smooth” statements Pei made about OnePlus phones.

According to Pei, Nothing will rely primarily on Google’s apps instead of building its own for common things like the phone dialer and messaging app. It’ll also be smart about how apps run on the phone, allocating more resources to heavier applications to ensure they run smoothly. Nothing is also promising up to three years of major OS upgrades for the Phone (1) and up to four years of security patches.

The latest big detail we learned during the presentation was the chip inside. Pei says the Phone (1) will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but it’s unclear which one he was referring to. Odds are it’s the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but we’ll have to wait for the phone’s formal introduction to know for sure.

There was also this weird glimpse at a graphical design featuring four odd shapes that’ll apparently be worked into the design on the phone. Rumor has it it’s the back of the phone that’ll get the look, but I really couldn’t tell you what it’s functionality could be (if there is any) beyond aesthetics.

Nothing will release the Phone (1) this summer, following a proper launch event. There’s currently no word on how much the device could cost, what the final design will look like, or what its other specs could be. However, if the Phone (1) is anything like its competitors, expect some leaks here and there to pop up.