After vaguely suggesting that Nothing may someday, possibly, whenever the time is deemed right, launch a phone in the US, Nothing CEO Carl Pei finally confirmed more details of the plans. Nothing is indeed launching the Nothing Phone (2) later this year in the US.
In an interview with Inverse, Pei talked more about his company’s US plans, calling the Phone (2) a “premium” offering that would arrive in 2023. He reiterated the reasons for not bringing the original Phone (1), reminding us once again that they were too small of a company who didn’t want to spend to get into this market, that launching earbuds first helped them gauge interest, and that the US carrier system is wack. OK, he didn’t call it that, but you can tell he would love to scream about how annoying US carriers and their certification systems are. I sure would if I were in his position.
Outside of the Phone (2) being “premium,” Pei didn’t mention much else. He still thinks that Nothing can offer an interesting alternative to Samsung and Apple because his company is young and mobile and can try things out, while those two old heads have to play it safer. He’s probably not wrong in that idea, but I do wonder if fancy lights and a too-simple OS only have so much reach. Nothing really needs to bring something special with a phone here that doesn’t just include a decent price tag and multi-year-old parts.
One area that I think Pei is saying all of the right things about is in software and in-house development. He’s not shy in admitting that Nothing had such a small staff with Phone (1) that they had to outsource a lot of the software. The company has now hired enough (they’ve jumped from 200 to 400 people total, 100 of which are on mobile) that they built out Android 13 completely in-house and will likely do the same for their next phone. Those are big moves that should lead to a better overall hardware-to-software experience.
In another bit of news, Pei suggested that their first retail store in the UK is so successful already that they want to open more physical stores around the globe. It seems like a weird time to expand into physical retail, but hey, give it a shot. I’m all for someone figuring out success in a place that others have failed.
To recap, the Phone (2) is coming to the US this year and it’ll be a more premium device than Phone (1). Hoping for the best.