Nothing still hasn’t released a phone in the US and we really have no idea if or when they might do such a thing. That has made our coverage of them a bit awkward at times, but since they keep saying “US launch,” here we are. The latest on this situation is that they’ve once again mentioned this country and they have also begun pushing out Android 13 as a beta to a limited group.
For the Android 13 beta, which is rolling out through an Open Beta program just like OnePlus does it, the new software will arrive under a Nothing OS 1.5 branding. Nothing believes this is their OS in “perfected” form with a huge boost to app loading speeds, even more Material You, privacy upgrades, a QR code scanner shortcut, a self-repair feature, improved Gaming Mode, and more. Actually, the list of changes looks about 95% of stuff Google introduced in Android 13, but there are probably custom touches here and there.
Here’s all that’s new in Nothing OS 1.5 (Android 13):
- Up to 50% increase in app loading speed.
- More Material You. More colour schemes available for matching third party apps to wallpaper.
- Multi-language support that allows different languages for different apps.
- Privacy upgrades. Including:
- Photo picker. Choose which images you want to share with each app.
- Notification permissions. Control which apps can send you notifications.
- Media permissions. Group the types of media you want to share e.g., photos and videos, music and audio, files.
- New QR code scanner in Quick Settings.
- Clipboard preview: copied text appears on clipboard in the bottom corner of the screen. So you can directly edit the text before pasting.
- New look for Media Control.
- Foreground services. Close active background apps directly from the notification centre to save battery.
- Live caption: detects speech on your device and automatically generates captions.
- Increased background memory. Reducing the wait for frequently used apps to load.
- New self-repair feature that keeps Phone (1) running like it’s new. By clearing unused cache and expired system dumps.
- Improved Quick Settings. Featuring new network and Bluetooth device pop-ups.
- New UI for volume control. Easily adjust individual volume sliders without unlocking the screen (e.g. music vs alarm).
- Improved Game Mode. New UI for light notifications and added Google Game Dashboard. Dashboard supports screenshots, screen recording, FPS display, and Do Not Disturb.
As for the US launch part of this, Nothing’s Carl Pei has taken to the Twitter to suggest they are indeed “Preparing for a US launch” and that they plan to extend the Android 13 beta program to folks here. If you happen to own a Nothing Phone (1) and live here, you can sign-up to be a tester here. That form was posted to their community forums a couple of weeks ago.
Preparing for a US launch 🇺🇸
While Android 13 Open Beta is gradually being rolled out in our existing markets, we will be extending it to the US market via a testing program with access to Phone (1). Would love to get feedback from our community there. Stay tuned.
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) December 15, 2022
There is still a lot of confusion around this supposed US launch, though. In an interview with Pei, Android Authority asked him about these US plans and he wouldn’t really elaborate on any of it, only mentioning again that it’s hard to ship a phone here. The question came as a follow-up to a recent story that suggested Nothing would “potentially” ship a phone here, but Pei seemed hesitant to further commit and instead talked about Nothing needing more resources and that a recession is here. So he’s talking about a US launch on Twitter and then being extra cautious in interviews.
I’ll let you know if I get this beta or if something in the US really happens.