There’s nothing to see here: Startup prepares to disrupt smartphone market with transparent handset

Wireless device startup in London Nothing has set the tone for the launch of its first smartphone product next month by releasing images of the semi-transparent design (see photo above) which, at least from the back, reveals the audacity of the product.

The smartphone, called 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 the online marketplace Flipkart. O2 and DT’s channel partnerships are exclusive go-to-market relationships, nothing unveiled earlier this year† Pricing details have yet to be released, but the smartphone will certainly not come with a companion parrot…

Nothing was 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 improve our lives without getting in the way” (which is also how the company approach describes on its website). Pei has a track record in the industry having co-founded Chinese device seller OnePlus, which is now part of the world’s largest fourth largest smartphone manufactureron.

Now, Pei wants to disrupt the smartphone market and put himself in the shoes of Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and others for the second time with his bold new company, which is already generating revenue.

And there are investors ready to support his mission. At the end of 2020, Nothing initially raised $7 million in seed funding from a number of “notable tech leaders” and individual investorsfollowed by a $15 Million Series A Financing Round from GV (formerly Google Ventures), the venture capital arm of Alphabet (Google’s parent company). It also raised $1.5 million through a crowdfunding effort that attracted significant interest from individual investors, then expanded its Series A round by another $50 million late last year to bring its total funding to more than $73 million. to bring.

In August 2021, the company launched its first commercial product: wireless earbuds called Ear (1) which retail for £99 (US$120). peis told the Financial timesFT) this week that more than 530,000 Ear (1) units have already been shipped to a very crowded market.

And earlier this year, Nothing Raised $70 Million in 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 grow operations in its new London Design Hub, led by ex-Dyson head of design Adam Bates,” the company noted. on.

That Snapdragon system-on-a-chip semiconductor will form the core of Phone (1), which will run on the Nothing operating system (OS), which is based on Android.

The second half of this year will say nothing. The smartphone market is in a sort of lull right now, due to multiple factors (including supply chain issues), and a funky new device could 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 first launch in July goes well.

There is no doubt that there is a buzz about it and a very creative marketing team (as well as experienced technical and design personnel and influential backers). But while that combination is strong, it doesn’t guarantee success: nothing needs an ace pricing strategy, and it will need to generate strong, positive user reviews, and not come at the expense of customer experience and service, if it is to make its mark in the international smartphone sector. .

– Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, TelecomTV

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