Carl Pei has confirmed that the upcoming Phone 2 will be available in the United States later this year. The 2023 flagship was described by the CEO and co-founder as “more premium” than the Nothing Phone 1, which Engadget deemed “an impressive debut” in our evaluation.
In an interview with Inverse, Pei shared a few details. First, he claims that the Ear 1 earbuds’ launch in the United States was a gauge of demand there. Pei stated, “We’re really excited about the US market because it’s a big country.” If you look at the sales of our earbuds, about a third come from the United States. We also risk losing a third of the market share by not launching our phone in the United States. Nothing’s top priority for this year, according to Pei, is the Phone 2’s US launch.
Pei asserts that the US market is ripe for innovation because of declining smartphone sales. From a business perspective, Apple and Samsung shouldn’t go very niche and try something new because doing so might turn off existing customers. Smaller businesses like ours can try something new in this situation. It simply does not make sense for them to do it, not because we are smarter or incapable. However, despite the fact that stagnation may have played a role, supply-chain issues, inflation, and an unpredictable economy have likely been the primary contributors to the decline.
Pei claims that the primary reason Nothing did not launch the Phone 1 in the United States was bureaucracy. It takes a lot of resources for American carriers to insist that Android manufacturers adhere to various adaptations and preinstalled apps. However, the company’s demonstrated capacity to move volume and rapid expansion have given it leverage. He stated, “When you make a smartphone for the US, you need to work with the carriers on certification and adapting some of their features into your OS,” he said. “We didn’t have the resources for that before, and now we do.” Nothing’s workforce has increased from 200 in 2021 to 400 today.
Although Pei doesn’t spill many secrets about the Phone 2, he hints at a higher-end design than its predecessor. “We’re developing a smartphone that’s more premium than the Nothing Phone 1, and software will be a big focus area for us.” However, he stresses that the Phone 1 was also a flagship handset. “Mobile chipsets have really improved over the last seven to nine years. That’s why I want to avoid calling the Phone 2 a flagship because that would mean that the Phone 1 was not a flagship. Within our own portfolio of smartphones, the Phone 1 was very much a flagship in terms of the amount of care we put into the product. That’s why I used the word ‘premium’ [to describe the Phone 2] instead, which signifies that it’s a more premium step up, but it’s still a flagship just like the Phone 1.”
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