After months of teasing, nothing is finally ready to reveal the phone (1). Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s a lot to like here: the design is unique thanks to the LEDs on the back, and the device is on par with other mid-range phones. Nothing has shared many details about the software itself, or the rest of the device, but we don’t have to wait long to see what the store has in store.
To me, there seems to be nothing trying to emulate Apple, and it wouldn’t be the first Android manufacturer to do so. To its credit the brand is doing something different in this segment, which is great to see. Ultimately, the success of Phone (1) will come down to two things: value and software. There are over a dozen mid-range phones available today with little or no difference in hardware or camera prowess, and there is no recourse but to position the phone according to market conditions.
While nothing does an Apple-esque mission with marketing, the fact of the matter is that the Phone (1) is not a premium device. Apple is able to get a premium on its phones because of its attractiveness; In most parts of the world, the iPhone is a status symbol. While nothing did a good job and attract interest in his device, it doesn’t have any such code.
Instead, there’s nothing that turns out the design as distinctive, but that in and of itself isn’t enough to make the phone stand out. Where I think the brand can really make its mark is the software. At the moment, there is a clear lack of devices with a clean Android interface. OnePlus used to be the go-to for enthusiastic users looking for a vanilla interface, but its integration with ColorOS has changed that.
There are only four manufacturers that still offer a clean user interface without any customization: Google, Motorola, Nokia, and ASUS. Google doesn’t sell its devices in most parts of the world – which makes it a debatable option – Motorola devices are often lackluster, and their phones don’t get as many updates as industry standards. In the meantime, Nokia seems eager to release the same entry-level phone year after year, and while ASUS has a lot to do with it, bringing its phones to the US and other major markets is taking too long.
In short, there is a lot of potential here. Nothing it does right now has a lot to do with OnePlus’ early days, and if it manages to offer a clean user interface without any bloatware, the Phone (1) has a good chance of becoming a bestseller.
As for what constitutes a good sales number, the estimates for nothing will differ significantly from Samsung’s. It’s easy to forget that no brand is a year old at this point, and while it’s garnered a lot of attention in the past 12 months, it pales in comparison to the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, and even the efforts of Google’s hardware.
For example, if Samsung sold less than 1 million units of the Galaxy A53, it would be considered a failure. But if phone(1) sales get close to 1 million, it would be a historic achievement for Nothing. After all, only (1) wireless earbuds have sold over 500,000 units over the past year.
On top of that, nothing needs to be sure that it doesn’t face the same hurdles that affect other smaller brands: availability and after-sales service. With absolutely nothing done with smaller production runs, you should have enough phone (1) stock to meet initial demand, and your aftersales infrastructure should be up and running by launch day.
I’ve been reviewing phones for a little over eight years now, and in that time, I’ve broken six devices (not a bad average considering how I use phones). The first was Xiaomi Mi 3; I bought the device on the day it was launched in India in July 2014, and it was delivered 2 days later. In my eagerness to switch to the device, I broke the SIM tray – it had a micro-SIM slot, and I was using a Micro-SIM at the time (Nexus 4).
While I was using the SIM cutter, the SIM did not fit perfectly into the housing, and I had to take it to a service center to turn the unit off. There was only one issue. Nobody had heard of Xiaomi at the time, and since it was an internet-only brand in those years, it didn’t have any stores where I could get the Mi 3. Xiaomi partnered with a local service provider, but since the phone had just been launched, They did not have the required parts.
Of course, a lot has changed in this field over the past eight years, but very few brands care about after-sales service. Nothing needs to get this right, and while it does have a nascent list of service centers set up for ear (1), it’s not as extensive as other brands.
I think the phone (1) could stand out in a crowded category that counts the likes of the Pixel 6a, Galaxy A53, Realme GT Neo 3, and Nord 2T. Nothing has managed to get a lot of attention for the device, and now comes the tricky part: delivering a phone that actually meets his expectations.