Taking the stage to announce what’s new about his startup ‘Nothing’, Carl Pei said, “Tech companies are no longer on the consumer side and no one is innovating.”
He then went on to show off a skinned version of Android, some LSD-powered hieroglyphics and then asked the community for $10 million USD (about $12.5 million CAD).
I give Pei credit. He almost had us in the first half, but after building up so much hype and then not revealing a product, he’s starting to come across more like a salesperson and less like the savior who’s really going to shake up the tech world.
But I think that’s the promise of Nothing.
What we learned at the event (NOT THE TRUTH)
For starters, Pei dropped several nice stats about the Nothing Ear (1)s and the Nothing company in general. Almost half a million of the wireless earbuds have been sold in six months, and more than 300 people now work at Nothing.
He also clarified that the company’s supply chain is ready, even though a major tech company tried to block them. Despite this, Pei claims that the company has big partners like Google, Samsung and Qualcomm on board to release the first Nothing phone this summer.
The company even cut the presentation to give us a trailer that shows this symbol. I’m sure people will be unpacking it in the coming weeks, but to me the bottom exclamation point is for fast charging, the symbol in the middle is wireless charging or some sort of MagSafe scam. Continuing my speculations, the ‘C’ at the top left is probably the camera and the ‘/’ symbol is the antenna for 5G.
This symbol may also appear on the back of the phone as we expect it to be transparent like the Nothing Ear (1)s.
In his whirlwind of hype, Pei started talking on the phone by painting a picture of Nothing as the only real alternative to Apple and the enclosed fortress known as the Apple ecosystem.
The Nothing ecosystem, on the other hand, will be open and designed to work with a wide variety of tech products ranging from AirPods to Telsa vehicles. However, he never really gave us any clear details about what this might mean. To me, it seems more like Pei is just trying to market Android openness better than Google.
It was also hard to hear Pei talk about taking on Apple and innovating in ways we can’t even comprehend while showing off Nothing OS, which looks like a lightly skinned version of Android 12.
Sure, the design is cool and uniform, but the design is subjective, and while I might think this one is cool, I’m pretty sure my mom won’t be into the cyberpunk aesthetic.
The Nothing Launcher for Android launches in April, so I’ll wait to make judgments until I can get my hands on it. Pei did say it will only be available on select smartphones. My guess would be Pixels and Samsung devices due to the aforementioned partnerships. However, I’d be delighted to see it run on an Essential phone or a modern OnePlus device.
The launcher should have minimal animations and a high degree of brand uniformity. This looks like a pixel filter on the apps and lots of dot matrix design elements to match the Nothing logo. That said, the company showed off a cool looking recorder app that pushes the cyberpunk aesthetic way beyond the launcher.
Pei also promised smarter RAM management, but that only comes in the Nothing phone, not the launcher. This seemed odd to bring to the podium as most modern phones with 4-6GB of RAM seem fine to me. Maybe the Nothing Phone (1) will actually feel faster or maybe Pei is preparing us for a phone with less RAM than its competitors?
Nothing promises three years of OS updates and four years of security updates when the phone launches.
Image source: Nothing
Source: Nothing, (1)