The “Nothing” Company has already failed
If you’re thoroughly immersed in the Tech space then you’ve been acquainted with the Nothing company by now, on more than one occasion. If you aren’t already familiar with the company, then you’ll be surprised once you hear it’s interesting story.
To give some background information, Nothing was founded quite recently, on October 26, 2020. More interestingly, the founder of this company, and current CEO, is Carl Pei, who is a prominent figure in the smartphone community for being one of the co-founders of OnePlus. OnePlus was a wildly successful start-up that practically ruled the budget smartphone category for years, reigning over Samsung and Xiaomi alternatives. In fact, prominent Tech Influencers like MKBHD and Mrwhosetheboss, among others, named the OnePlus 7 Pro as the, or one of , best phones of that year. However, they say lackluster success with the launch of the 8, and declined ever further by the launch of the 9. They had gone from their high prestige, being regarded as the “flagship killer” to becoming a common company once they dialed up the prices from around $499 to around $799 or even $899. Amidst their struggling figures and declining sales, Carl Pei decided to withdraw and leave the company entirely, and emerged with this company instead.
The phone you see above was designed by the Nothing company and made tech headlines globally. In fact, a wave of media coverage is still holding this phone in the spotlight. However, this isn’t the first time the Nothing Company has taken the internet by storm, for they had a massive launch several months ago, unveiling transparent wireless earbuds. The earbuds, though popular, received mixed reception and many didn’t rate the sound quality or the appearance of the earbuds. Moreover, many were disappointed with the basic case design, which lacked authenticity or feel, and felt like a mere plastic box. Mrwhosetheboss, an established UK tech reviewer, even called out the company for their massive attempts to gain publicity by giving hundreds of earbuds to reviewers for them to give away or sponsoring others just as they unveiled. While it’s normal for established companies like Vivo, Samsung, or Oppo to do this, it’s quite uncommon for a company that has just stormed into the gates. For many, they felt as if a piece to the puzzle was missing for this company. However, after this small period of intense coverage, the company disappeared as quickly as it came into the world. Nonetheless, they’re back at it again, and just hit the world with their Nothing Phone(1), which is already available for preorder. This, similar to their other unveiling, brought up some skepticism. Some adored the design and the unique quirks of the phone, primarily the design, which incorporated LEDs to an extent we haven’t seen yet on a smartphone.
Being rumored to be selling at a semi-midrange price point, many fans adored the design in a space where many of it’s competitors are turning towards more standard outlines. Although, despite the massive interest sparked by the public, just as many people thought that this phone wasn’t worth it. Aside from the busy back, it holds no truly differentiating features on the face of it. It’s screen is one that is expected for an Android phone of it’s price, an OLED 120hz panel, and its ROM & RAM are nothing out of the ordinary(pun intended), ranging from 128GB & 8GB to 256GB & 12GB. However, the chip is one that hasn’t received much love, due to the fact that it lacks the flagship performance by a long shot, being a Snapdragon 778G+. Moreover, many dismissed this phone’s LED practicality for calls and notifications due to the rarity of a person putting their phone face-down just to see the LEDs. Moreover, this phone loses almost all design advantage if anything aside from a transparent case is used; many opt for single-color cases rather than transparent due to the ease in which a transparent one stains and wears over time. In addition, it carried a 4500 mAh battery capacity in a world where Android Phones of this price go anywhere from 5000–6000mAh. Its camera has also been critiques, only containing two cameras, capped at 4k 30fps video recording, with no evidence of photo quality of the phone. With this being the first of its kind, the Nothing OS has been seen by no one and no promises can be made of it’s capability. With the software comes the computational photography that makes phones by Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi so good. Lastly, the one thing this phone possessed was versatility, which dre heavy attention all at once. However, after it’s initial announcement and review videos, the phone has massively died down in relevance, and been topped by unveilings from Xiaomi, Asus, and Vivo.
Despite all of this difficulty from hardware and software, the Nothing company lacks another quality that smartphone companies who succeed possess: experience. True, Carl Pei, the founder, has experience through his time at OnePlus and has carried his reputation with him from his previous company to this one. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have received almost $144M in funding during their initial development stage. The position of Carl Pei is the single redeeming factor of this company in a world where any other company of this sort might get crushed under the competition. Moreover, the Nothing Company seems to try and emulate the initial phase of OnePlus all those years ago, wanting to be seen as exclusive and as a “flagship killer”. Carl Pei has gone on record saying that the Nothing Phone(1) will be the most direct competitor to the iPhone, which is frankly absurd. Not only does the iPhone top the Nothing Phone in every measurable test, whether that is camera quality or computational power, Apple has garnered a fanbase for their clean aesthetic and some services which other companies cannot offer. Samsung and Xiaomi are more realistic competitors to Apple with their flagship phones, and the Nothing Phone(1) seems to fall short of all of them. As we saw with OnePlus, the success they had early on wasn’t enough for them and they transitioned from the one thing that made them unorthodox in a common market to becoming the very thing they were trying to compete with just a couple of years ago. Though this I can simply infer, I presume that the Nothing company shall follow this same pattern, gradually raising prices and making designs similar to the Top Dogs in the smartphone market. As was stated in Batman, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. With the track record and sour reputation that this company already had, not even 2 years into it’s history, the Nothing company isn’t distinct in a good way and shall likely see a similar downfall to OnePlus. We can only speculate, but for now, the coverage that the Nothing company is receiving can either lead to their rise or simply build towards their downfall.