In late 2020, we found out Carl Pei was leaving OnePlus, the company he co-founded several years earlier. Eventually, Pei announced his new company: Nothing. The firm with the funny name quickly released a well-received set of true-wireless earbuds called Nothing Ear 1. Now, in 2022, the company is poised to launch its second hardware product: the Nothing Phone 1.
Here’s everything we know so far about the Nothing Phone 1. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll find a few things we hope to see when the phone finally lands.
When will the Nothing Phone 1 release date be?
After months of teasing, Nothing finally confirmed a launch date on June 8, 2022. The Nothing Phone 1 will be arriving on July 12, 2022, with a so-called “Return to Instinct” event taking place at 11:00 AM ET.
The company didn’t reveal any other details, but we’re guessing that an actual release to market will take place a short while after the launch event. So don’t expect to get your hands on the phone right away.
What features and specs will the Nothing Phone 1 have?
As usual for Pei, he hasn’t divulged much information about the Nothing Phone 1. Nothing will very likely dole out little details here and there to keep the hype machine churning all the way up until the phone’s release date.
Until then, though, here’s what we do know.
From the beginning, it was assumed Nothing’s first smartphone would feature the transparent casing of the Nothing Ear 1 earbuds. On May 24, Nothing confirmed this to be true. It did so through a Wallpaper interview with Pei and lead designer Tom Howard.
However, the duo stopped short of actually showing off the entire phone at the time. Instead, all we got was the design sketch you see above. It gives you an idea of how the company is trying to make the innards of a smartphone look cool from the outside, which is something most other designers don’t need to think about.
Nothing would go on to post a teaser image on its Twitter account, showing two birds perched on the phone. The device is barely visible but we can make out flat edges (complete with antenna lines) and a circular camera lens. It’s all very iPhone at this point, but we’ll need to wait for a full look at the design before passing judgment. You can check out the image in question below.
Outside of this, though, we don’t know much about the phone’s design. We can assume that it will be mostly made of plastic since making a durable phone with transparent glass seems like it would be really difficult to make (not to mention expensive). Unfortunately, we’re missing any rumors about dimensions, weight, screen size, buttons, etc.
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
We know that the Nothing Phone 1 will feature a Qualcomm-created chipset. However, Qualcomm makes a ton of mobile processors, and it could be any one of them. We don’t know if the Phone 1 will have the mighty new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 or something weaker, such as the Snapdragon 778G or the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
Related: All of Qualcomm’s smartphone processors explained
We also know the phone will run on an Android skin known as Nothing OS. We’ve already seen a sneak preview of Nothing OS running on a Samsung phone. The launcher is very basic at the moment, with its only novel feature being the ability to resize icons and folders on the fly. Other than that, it is a bare-bones launcher.
The phone will come skinned with Nothing OS and get three Android upgrades.
One rumor points to the phone having a 6.55-inch FHD+ OLED panel with flat edges along with a center-mounted punch-hole cutout. That sounds par for the course these days, but we’ll need to wait for more leaks and official disclosures to hear whether this is indeed the case.
Nothing also confirmed the Nothing Phone 1 will see three Android upgrades and four years of security patches. This almost matches Google’s commitment to Pixel software support (Google offers five years of patches). It is a little behind Samsung’s commitment, though, which is four Android upgrades and five years of patches. Still, it’s good news that Nothing is making a firm commitment from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, that’s about all we know about the phone so far. The amount of RAM, internal storage options, camera hardware, and other details elude us for now.
What will the Nothing Phone 1 price be?
There have been plenty of shaky rumors flying around about the alleged price of the Nothing Phone 1. However, we haven’t given any of them much credence since the sources are vague, weak, or completely unmentioned.
We have already written about how we hope the phone has a low price. For what it’s worth, the unsubstantiated rumors we’ve heard do point to a mid-range price. However, until we know more about the specs and design, it will be impossible to know what Nothing’s plans are.
Nothing Phone 1: What we want to see
Since Pei left OnePlus, the company has changed significantly. Whether or not you think that’s a good thing (here’s what we think), it’s very clear that Pei played a big part in OnePlus’ original success. Therefore, many OnePlus fans have high hopes for Nothing and its first smartphone as they hope Pei brings the original spirit of OnePlus back.
With that in mind, here are some things we hope to see from the Nothing Phone 1.
A price-appropriate camera
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
We have no idea what Nothing is planning to charge for the Phone 1. As such, we can’t really say we’re hoping for a 100MP+ wide-angle lens and a periscope telephoto sensor since that would make the phone a $1,000+ premium device.
Instead, we’re hoping the phone’s price matches the quality of the camera hardware and the output of that camera. The Galaxy S22, for example, offers a 50MP wide-angle lens paired with ultrawide and telephoto lenses for $799. If the Nothing Phone 1 costs $800 too, it needs to have something as good or better than that.
See also: The best camera phones you can get
Likewise, if the phone costs between $500 and $600, it needs to have a terrific wide-angle lens paired with a similarly good ultrawide lens, like the Google Pixel 6. If Nothing cuts down the quality of those two sensors in order to throw in macro lenses or other gimmicks, it will be very disappointing.
Nothing also needs to deliver a solid camera app. It is very unlikely Nothing’s first smartphone will have the best camera experience of the year, but a reputation for poor camera quality still dogs OnePlus because its initial offerings were so poor. Nothing can’t repeat that mistake, so the Phone 1’s camera needs to be at least decent on launch day.
A special something that isn’t a clear back
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
The clear casing of the Nothing Ear 1 is super cool. Since I started wearing them, I have been stopped twice by strangers asking how to get a pair because they look so interesting. When you consider they look cool, offer many premium features such as ANC and wireless charging, and only cost $99, it’s an easy sell.
However, a competitive price and a clear back will not sell the Nothing Phone 1. It needs to have something else — something that really makes it irresistible. When Carl Pei helped bring the OnePlus One into existence, he created a smartphone with a unique look, stellar specs for the price, bloat-free software, and a thriving community of fans. It’s possible Pei plans to simply repeat that strategy with the Phone 1 — which we’ve speculated could be the idea.
The Nothing Phone 1 needs something very special for it to win over consumers — and that’s not going to be a clear back.
But that all happened in 2014. The market’s changed a lot since then. Nowadays, to be truly successful, a phone needs to have a killer singular feature or offer such a terrific value that it can’t be ignored. It’s possible Nothing plans to sell the Phone 1 at a loss and offer top-of-the-line specs for a fraction of the price of competitors. It’s also possible it has some sort of secret feature that will set it apart from the crowd of literally dozens of other phones. But, if it doesn’t have either of these things, it will fail.
Your guess is as good as ours as to what the “secret sauce” feature could be. Maybe it’s an incredible camera or a replaceable battery or something we simply haven’t seen before. If it’s just a cool design and some mid-range specs, though, it will be incredibly disappointing.
See also: It’s 2022, phones should be built to last five years or more
That’s everything we want to see from the Nothing Phone 1. What do you hope for most? Be sure to let us know in the comments.