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Carl Pei’s Nothing phone could launch as soon as April

Nothing ear (1) review
(Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What we know so far

  • A TechCrunch source claims Carl Pei is exhibiting a Nothing phone prototype at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
  • The same source claims Nothing will announce the phone by "next month."
  • The phone could share the same translucent design as the Nothing ear (1) buds released earlier this year.

Carl Pei is reportedly walking around MWC 2022 with a Nothing phone prototype in his pocket. And anyone interested in buying one shouldn't have long to wait.

A TechCrunch (opens in new tab) source "with direct knowledge of the matter" said Pei has met with major industry leaders at MWC — likely carriers and potential partners — to show off his new device. And that source claims Pei's brand will announce the phone in April.

The source also speculates the Nothing phone will have the same “elements of transparency” and design aesthetic as the Nothing ear (1) buds that launched last year. It could also share elements with abandoned Essential phone designs, given Pei's company acquired Essential last year.

Whatever it looks like, we know Nothing partnered with Qualcomm to use Snapdragon chips "in preparation for the brand’s entry into new product categories." That would naturally include a new phone, and if the Nothing phone is a proper flagship, we can expect it to use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that powers the Galaxy S22 series.

"Users deserve better products that are simpler to use, accessible, yet look amazing,”  Carl Pei announced last year. Pei, who co-founded OnePlus and made the brand popular with Android enthusiasts before OPPO diluted it, will likely use this as the mantra behind the Nothing phone. 

Android Central's Alex Dobie speculated that the Nothing phone would arrive soon last month, and said it could be "seen as the spiritual successor to the OnePlus of old" with competitive pricing and minimalist design. But he also warned that Nothing could struggle against bigger brands like Samsung and Apple in areas like computational photography or acquiring phone components from ODMs.

Still, given the former OnePlus co-founder Pei only founded Nothing in early 2021, this would mark an impressive turnaround for any small Android brand. OnwardMobility's failed BlackBerry revival is just one example of how difficult it is to launch any new phone venture today.

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.