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Nothing Phone (2) is coming this July
If you want a transparent phone with flagship specs, you don't have long to wait.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a cocktail party with Nothing in Brooklyn. I was delighted to see not just familiar faces from the tech media landscape, but the PR side of the industry as well; two of Nothing’s newest public relations recruits previously worked at OnePlus, CEO Car Pei’s old homestead, and it was both joyous and a little shocking to catch up with them after 4+ years.
I say “shocking” because I didn’t realize how deep Pei’s interest in rehashing some of OnePlus’ success was until that night. This was a day after an Inverse piece was published detailing the ratio of new employees at Nothing to those who previously worked at OnePlus; 30 percent of the hardware team was at OnePlus, while a whopping 70 percent of the software team was also from the company.
Coupled with Pei’s mission to make his new company stand out as much as possible (this time by positioning Nothing as a cool, hip alternative to other brands), you get a sense for what he and his team are trying to achieve: a reputation for doing things differently, in a way that generates a ton of buzz and excitement among its users.
If that doesn’t sound like OnePlus to you, I’m not sure what does. Pei’s previous company was famous for getting folks roweled up every time a new device launched, bolstered by some of the most enthusiastic launch events I’ve ever witnessed. (They still sell tickets to most of their keynotes, in fact, so fans and media alike can attend.)
I remember attending the OnePlus 6T launch in New York, which was the company’s first time partnering with a carrier in the United States. I swung by the launch at the T-Mobile store in Times Square, and there, lines of OnePlus fans wrapped around the block, itching to get in and place an order for a phone. It was pure insanity.
Nothing has done a few pop-up stores in the past to similar response, although they have yet to build up the type of following OnePlus has.
This July, Nothing will take another important step toward that goal: launching its second smartphone ever.
Called the Phone (2), the device has been teased numerous times through various leaks and Nothing’s own social channels. It’ll be the biggest product launch in the company’s young history and an important milestone for one primary reason: it’s getting a global launch, which includes the United States.
Speaking with Forbes, Pei emphasized the importance of a U.S. launch for the Phone (2). “For our first smartphone, Phone (1), we took a focused approach by selectively launching in specific markets and regions. With Phone (1), we have seen encouraging results, being one of the smartphone brands with the highest percentage of users switching from an iPhone across quite a few markets. With the US being a very Apple dominated market with no real option for people looking for an alternative, it represents a good opportunity for Phone (2).”
Going against Apple seems to weigh on Nothing’s mind a lot. They’re convinced that there’s no viable alternative to the iPhone for a lot of folks, as the Samsung Galaxies and Google Pixels of the world don’t hold the same gravitas or mainstream appeal. That’s where the Phone (2) will come into play; its use of a transparent design and high-end specs from a trendy brand could be enough to sway potential iPhone buyers to go Apple-less.
“Apple is continuously gaining ground over Android, and there isn't a real exciting alternative out there right now, especially for the younger generation,” Pei added.
Surprisingly enough, Nothing is already seeing a lot of iPhone owners switch to Android thanks to the Phone (1). The company told Forbes it sees a 3x-4x increase in users ditching iOS than the average for other companies in some markets.
That’s a big deal, but it’s important to mention that those data don’t include the United States, where it’s virtually impossible to get users to switch from iPhone to Android. Whether it’s messaging your friends with blue bubbles or simply seeing an Apple logo on the back of your phone, people have many reasons for not ditching their iPhones.
I’m sure Nothing will do enough to convince some people to leave Apple’s walled garden, but we likely won’t see droves of iPhone users switch to Android just for a transparent phone.
At the very least, the Phone (2) is shaping up to be a pretty killer device. Nothing has confirmed that it’ll ship with a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor (giving you 80 percent better performance over Phone (1), according to the company) and a 4,700mAh battery. That size isn’t the biggest you’ll find on the market, but it’s 200mAh larger than the Phone (1)’s, and the 8 Plus Gen 1’s more efficient design could increase the Phone (2)’s stamina by a large margin.
Other rumored specs include a 6.55-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, 12GB of RAM, three rear cameras, and Android 13 with Nothing’s minimal skin on top.
Any way you shake it, there’s reason to be excited about the Phone (2). The Phone (1), while not the most powerful or widely available phone of 2022, made plenty of headlines for how different it was compared to the competition. The Phone (2) will certainly do the same thing, and it’ll have a larger audience to gauge interest in alternative brands.
And because of how large this launch might be, I’m really hoping Nothing throws another party. I need to pull more wardrobe hijinks with my buddies.