Nothing teases phone (1) design ahead of next month’s launch

It’s hard to get a thrill from glimpses of unreleased smartphone hardware these days, given the baked-in maturity of the mobile market and the general form and function sameness of the sticky rectangles we humans routinely spend hours poking at and peering into each day.

But this rear-view design-teaser (below) of a forthcoming handset made by hardware startup Nothing might just give you a little tingle: Meet the minimally named phone (1), in all its pure, deconstructed, ‘analog’ glory — parrot not included, presumably.

As design aesthetics go, it’s approximately akin to if The Ordinary made electronics. Which is to say clean, minimalist, functional looking, even clinical, as if to suggest it’s purged of performative frills — except that first-glance stark contrast is the performative visual thrill this type of look is shooting for as a differentiator so there’s plenty of contrivance at work.

In phone (1)’s case, by stepping away from the shiny, hermetically sealed look that iPhone maker Apple is so fond of — and scores of Android device makers have so keenly copied — Nothing is delivering some smart, instant visual differentiation vs. the premium competition.

On its website, it sums up its approach with phone (1) as: “Designed with intention. Full of warmth. And joy.” Which suggests the parrot is there to represent all the fun stuff you can do with the stripped-back bit of cuttlefish-bone-white mobile kit it’s having a (staged) beak at.

As we’ve noted before, Nothing is a dab hand at teasers. Albeit, founder Carl Pei’s tweet about this pre-launch reveal claims the startup’s hand was forced by leakers ahead of next month’s official unboxing. (But if you believe that, well, I have a very healthy Norwegian Blue parrot to sell you.)

A previous Nothing teaser of phone (1) showed what look like illuminated light strips on the back of the device — a strikingly contrasting feature to the otherwise utilitarian look being revealed today. So all may not be as purely functional as the phone’s analog look might imply on first glance, as it seems to sprinkling a little fun into the design mix too.

Pei has previously said Nothing’s debut smartphone will pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, rock wireless charging and run a skinned version of Android (aka NothingOS) — which its marketing suggests will layer something “bold” and “warm” atop Google’s hyperfamiliar smartphone platform. So if the user interface doesn’t — somehow — feature snazzy plumage we’re going to be disappointed.

The rest of phone (1)’s specs are TBA but Nothing will officially reveal all on July 12.

Nothing founder Carl Pei on Ear (1) and building a hardware startup from scratch

Carl Pei’s Nothing shows off the tobacco pipe-inspired ‘Concept 1’

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