These days, it’s hard to imagine a smartphone that is radically different from the others. Sure, we have foldable phones that have revived the interest of many tech enthusiasts who are bored with the design of modern smartphones, but what about just making Normal Sensational phones again?
From what I can tell, that seems to be the goal of Carl Pei’s Nothing, a company full of loaded investors, hype guys, and top-notch designers. (Opens in a new tab)all working towards realizing the vision of building a “radical reinterpretation of mobile technology”.
But while Pei has been building a new company with a new vision for the future of smartphones (Opens in a new tab)However, a lot of the strategies behind building the brand seem to come from the same rules of the game since his days at OnePlus. That’s certainly not a bad thing – OnePlus rose from nothing to something very fast – but it also made me feel hesitant about the actual announcement of the Nothing Phone (1) (Opens in a new tab) In a few weeks.
What are we in?
Last week, wallpaper (Opens in a new tab) He published an interview with Nothing’s Carl Pei which included an interesting headline. While I entered with high hopes—and I suppose many other tech enthusiasts did too—the details were fairly routine. I came up with the idea that nothing was chasing the ’90s dream of ubiquitous transparent electronics, but little else.
As it has been for months now, nothing has triggered everything from the Nothing OS launcher (Opens in a new tab) to the transparent design that will be present in all of the company’s products – a style that began with Nothing Ear last year’s excellent (1) (Opens in a new tab) Headphones. But transparent electronics certainly isn’t enough to claim that the company’s products are a “radical reinterpretation” of anything, it’s less exciting enough to build a brand out of absolutely nothing.
In fact, we’ve seen this kind of design hype from one of the Pei companies in the past: OnePlus. When the OnePlus 5 was teased, we saw sites like The Verge (Opens in a new tab) Amplify the noise of the phone. The article talked about how OnePlus finally focused on making an excellent camera, complete with a photo of several design prototypes that could have been the final phone.
Many of them look similar to the final product delivered, but many showcase unique designs that are much more than that. A month ago, in May, we saw several leaks that provided sketches of a possible OnePlus 5, which all looked a lot like HTC’s favorite phone that most enthusiasts adore.
All of this created a lot of hype for a phone that ended up looking nearly identical to the iPhone 7 from all angles – even including the giant bezels on the front – and left a lot to be desired in terms of design. It was boring and mundane and continued the trend of unplugged hype that OnePlus struggled with for a while.
So will history end up repeating itself with Nothing Phone (1) and its design language? The last major company to try to create a transparent phone abandoned the idea only two generations later – this was the Xiaomi Mi 9 (Opens in a new tab) and Mi 10 (Opens in a new tab)specifically – and I have a feeling I know why: Users usually put a cover on their phones.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a child in the nineties. I loved the obvious electronics frenzy and would definitely choose to buy such a device if it were to come to market. Heck, I’m one of those people who buys “transparent” Dbrand series skins for phones just to make them look different.
But if everyone was going to cover their phone with a case, what’s the point of having a great looking phone? At the very least, it will certainly not be a defining factor for consumers looking to pick up a device from a completely unknown brand.
On top of that, at the end of the interview, a bit of great information was left, it was thrown out almost as easily as the material she referred to. It turns out that the phone’s frame (1) will be made of recycled aluminum, but we don’t know much more than that. To me, this looks like a big design gallery that should have been highlighted, however, there doesn’t seem to be much detail at all. curious.
see the possibilities
Above is a map of a subway system Nothing is provided Background for the above interview about Nothing Phone (1) design. Tom Howard, Head of Design at Anything, told Wallpaper that he loves this type of map because of its ability to organize “a very complex system and (find) how to illustrate it in a beautiful way.”
While discussing these design concepts with my colleagues on the latest Android Central podcast, we talked about the possibility of not having anything including a specialized case for every Nothing Phone (1) in the box. Such a case could use the above subway map design in conjunction with the (supposedly) transparent design of the phone itself to create a completely unique – and most importantly for this, enviable theme – look that would turn heads.
Nothing seems to be trying to offer consumers an entire ecosystem rather than just one product, but not everyone is convinced they can shake off this vision.
Will the Nothing phone turn out to be something?
I imagine there aren’t a lot of tricks up his sleeve for the phone itself when it’s officially announced in the near future, but, for now, what we’ve been able to actually get — this is the Nothing Launcher — isn’t exactly amazing. That may well be, especially if the end product lives up to its promises of being revolutionary.