There’s nothing to see here: The startup is preparing for the disruption of the smartphone market with a transparent handset

London-based wireless device startup Nothing set the stage for the launch of its first smartphone next month by releasing images of the semi-transparent design (see photo above) which reveals, at least from the back, the insides of the product.

The smartphone, dubbed Phone(1), will be officially unveiled on July 12, after which it will be available in the UK via Virgin Media O2, in Germany via Deutsche Telekom and in India via online marketplace Flipkart. O2 and DT channel partnerships are exclusive go-to-market relationships, Nothing revealed earlier this year. Pricing details have yet to be released, but the smartphone certainly won’t come with an accompanying parrot…

Nothing has been shaped in 2020 by Carl Pei, who believes there is a gap in what is already a highly competitive market for “intuitive, seamlessly connected products that enhance our lives without getting in our way” (that’s also as the company describes its approach on its website). Pei has a proven track record in the industry: he was the co-founder of Chinese device supplier OnePlus, which is now part of the fourth smartphone makerOppo.

Now Pei is looking to disrupt the smartphone market and step into the shoes of Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and others for the second time with his boldly named new company, which is already generating revenue.

And there are investors ready to support its mission. In late 2020, Nothing raised $7 million in seed funding from a number of “notable tech leaders” and individual investorsfollowed by GV’s $15M Series A Funding Round (formerly Google Ventures), the venture capital arm of Alphabet (Google’s parent company). It also raised $1.5 million via a crowdfunding effort that garnered a lot of interest from individual investors, then extended its Series A round by another $50 million at the end of the year. year to bring its total funding to more than $73 million.

Then in August 2021, the company launched its first commercial product – wireless headphones called Ear(1) which retail for £99 (US$120). pei say it FinancialTimes (FT) this week that over 530,000 Ear(1) units have already shipped in a very crowded market.

And earlier this year, Nothing raised $70 million in a Series B funding round co-led by EQT Ventures and C Ventures. “This funding will be used to create new product categories in partnership with Qualcomm Technologies and its Snapdragon platform, and to expand the operations of its new London Design Hub, led by former Dyson design chief Adam Bates. “, said the company.

This Snapdragon system-on-chip semiconductor will be at the heart of the phone (1), which will run on the Android-based Nothing operating system (OS).

The second half of this year will be telling for nothing. The smartphone market is currently experiencing some lull, due to several factors (including supply chain issues), and one awesome new device could help give the industry a boost, albeit in a few select markets. But Pei told the FT that the company has ambitions to bring the smartphone to the US market if the initial July launch goes well.

There’s no doubt that Nothing has the momentum and a very creative marketing team (as well as experienced technical and design staff and influential backers). But while this combination is strong, it doesn’t guarantee success: nothing will need an ace pricing strategy, and will need to drive strong, positive user reviews and not stumble on customer experience. and service, if it’s to make its mark. in the international smartphone sector.

– Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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