After showing enough ankle so everyone in tech circles knew what to expect, Nothing has launched its first smartphone. Following on from the tech company’s Ear (1) wireless in-ear buds, the Phone (1) is officially on the market.
The smartphone market is a cut-throat one. Co-founder Carl Pei and his team may have experienced this before, but the challenge in 2022 is subtly different to the market in 2014 when Pei helped OnePlus launch the OnePlus One.
Nothing’s Phone (1) needs to set out its store and offer answers to some of the key challenges. Is there space for the phone, can it stand out, and will it sell?
First of all, Nothing needs to show that there is a space in the market for the Phone (1). Smartphones, especially in the price range where the Phone (1) is available, are as close to a commodity item in societies worldwide that the market is saturated. Is there space for another smartphone brand in his mix? If there is, why is it Nothing?
Once you provide all the essential features consumers expect from a smartphone, how can you differentiate your offering from that of another manufacturer? After all, isn’t everyone looking for the same core Android apps, as large a screen as possible on the front of the device, and the right balance of strength and lightness that allows a phone to be used comfortably throughout the day?
Nothing’s approach to this is, like almost every manufacturer, to lean into the language of design. But it also has a unique feature that can help the handset stand out in the market and be known for a single thing. The Glyph interface, Nothing’s intricate LED alert and notification system on the rear of the device should create an emotional association between the consumer, the phone, and the brand. However, how practical the system is will need to wait until the first reviews are published.
Finally, will it sell? All of the niceties around design, the minimal interface, the Android compatibility, defining the target market… that doesn’t matter if you can’t sell the phone. And that is the great unknown. Nothing may have lined up everything possible ahead of the launch, but now the biggest challenge is the simplest one.
It’s time to put the Phone (1) on sale and see who buys it.
Now read my review of Nothing’s Ear (1) Wireless Buds…