Over the decades, there were several milestones in consumer electronics that made this industry vibrant and exciting. Milestones like the invention of the first cell phone, the first consumer PC, and the first capacitive touch smartphone are some examples.
These milestones offered a much-needed break from the monotony of non-innovation. This is particularly true in the smartphone market to which I concur with Carl Pei, former head honcho of OnePlus, who now has his own company called Nothing.
Nothing’s first product may be a pair of TWS earbuds but it is not an audio company. But are you surprised? Of course not. Pei has just revealed yesterday the company’s true intention: making a smartphone. Are you surprised? Again, of course not.
In a video live-streamed on YouTube, Carl expressed his distaste for the current smartphone market, describing new smartphones launched were more of iterations as opposed to innovations.
Carl’s words couldn’t be more true. This is how I felt for several years now. Once upon a time, I looked forward to Apple iPhone but that anticipation soon die sometime around iPhone 7.
Every new phone was nothing but incremental improvements. Thankfully, Android offers me an outlet; at least I get to customize the UI (my first Android phone was the HTC Google Nexus One, btw). But alas, that alone is not enough to hide the monotony.
The latest example of how unexciting the current state of the smartphone industry is is the new Samsung Galaxy S22 series. Samsung has taken a page of Apple’s playbook and tweaked the same design instead of creating new ones. It is just sad.
Even sadder is, this is happening with most, if not all, major smartphone makers (just look at the folding phones. Only Oppo dared to take a different route, but every other just copy). At least Apple has its own chip that is actually powerful. Though we can’t say the same for Samsung’s Exynos.
With all that said and done, Carl Pei’s Nothing aimed to smash that monotony with its very first smartphone, Nothing phone (1), which it will reveal in Summer 2022.
While the design of the phone remains a mystery at this point, Pei did reveal some of the UI of its Android-based UI, Nothing OS, at the presentation. The above image is the only clue we have of what the phone might look like. Carl promised it will be different.
Different as in it will be something “not what you think it is.” Now, I am intrigued and we cannot wait to see if Nothing really can rejuvenate the stagnant (design speak, that is) smartphone market. Here, have a look at the said presentation (the actual presentation starts at 10:10):