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Reinventing the phone wheel: how to redefine the Phone 1 smartphone market from Nothing

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Carl Pei, the founder of Nothing, thinks there is something wrong with the smartphone industry. That doesn’t mean phones on sale today are bad. In general, modern mobile phones are faster, more sophisticated and take better photos than previous generations.

But, like a growing number of technology enthusiasts, Pei has begun to feel that new phones are not as special as the devices that appeared five or ten years ago. So, before the launch of Phone 1 on July 12 (pre-orders start today), Engadget met with the founder and CEO of Nothing to find out how the mobile startup is trying to bring innovation and maybe even a little fun back to the smartphone market.

Nothing presented an image with the design of the first phone it will launch. Since its launch in late 2020, the mysterious start-up Nothing – created by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei – has led a fairly private existence. However, the second product in history, Nothing Phone 1, is now confirmed to come this summer.

Nothing launches Phone 1 in July

As a reference, Nothing was founded by Carl Pei after parting ways with OnePlus. The company Nothing is preparing for the launch of the first phone, an event that took place in July. Specifically, on July 12.

“When I talk to consumers, they’re pretty indifferent,” says Pei. “When they were in focus groups, some consumers said they thought smartphone brands were intentionally retaining functions, just to have something to launch for the next iteration, which is not true. But if consumers feel that way, it’s a sign that they’re a little bored. “

The big problem for Pei is one of stagnation. Given that major players such as LG and HTC have left the market or become irrelevant, the smartphone industry is dominated by a handful of huge corporations such as Apple, Samsung and Google.

“There are some big companies and the way they operate is more structured and more systematic,” Pei said. “They have technology roadmaps from partners like Qualcomm, Sony or Samsung Display, so I know what’s next. They do a lot of research on consumers, they get their feedback and they look at their competitors and the overall market landscape. ”

However, Pei believes that this approach leads to many identical products. “So they have this information, analyze it and then create a very rational product that will do well on paper, because they used all this great data,” Pei said. “But the problem is that everyone uses the same data and everyone uses the same analysis. So, if the input is the same and the method is the same, the result is more or less the same ”.

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This is something Pei is trying to change with Nothing’s future phone, Phone 1. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel – or, in this case, the phone – Pei wants to bring back some originality to the design of mobile technology. “Maybe we can increase our intuition,” said Pei, who is a mantra that has led to some of the phone 1’s more unique features, including design, built-in lighting and interface.

Pei says the inspiration behind the Phone 1 design comes from a concept the team describes as “raw technology meets human heat” or, in short, technical heat.

“It looks like a car, but it also has weird and very human elements.”

That’s why, instead of hiding the inside of the device behind an opaque back, as you see on so many other phones, Nothing uses clear glass that exposes components such as the phone’s wireless charging coil, heat pipes, and more. In many ways, he feels like a modern industrialist who plays Game Boys and iMacs with clear plastic cases that we received in the 90s and early 2000s.

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