Nothing’s next smartphone, the Phone 2, will be getting an official US release, the company’s CEO Carl Pei has confirmed in an interview with Inverse. Although the Phone 1’s transparent rear design and flashing light strips didn’t see a US release after the company chose to focus its attention on Europe and Asia, Nothing has decided to change its focus for its 2023 flagship. “We decided to make the U.S. our No. 1 priority in terms of markets,” Pei tells Inverse.
Hints of a US launch came earlier this month when Nothing announced a beta program for American buyers, which would supply them with a Phone 1 handset for a $299 fee. But the program is a far cry from an official US release, with Nothing cautioning that devices won’t support 5G on AT&T and that coverage on Verizon is very limited. In other words, the program is a way for people to test the hardware, but it’s not ready to replace a primary smartphone for US buyers.
“We didn’t have the resources for that before and now we do.”
“When you make a smartphone for the U.S. you need to work with the carriers on certification and adapting some of their features into your OS,” Pei tells Inverse. “We didn’t have the resources for that before and now we do.” Nothing’s workforce now reportedly numbers around 400 people, double what it had in 2021. “Our hands were tied building the team as we were building the products. Now as we’re on a more solid footing, we can take a step forward,” Pei adds.
“We’re really excited about the U.S. market because it’s a big country. If you look at our earbuds sales, about one-third comes from the U.S. And by not launching our phone in the U.S., we’re leaving potentially a third of the volume on the table,” Pei says. That doesn’t mean Nothing is planning to imminently launch a physical retail store in the US following its first location in London, but it’s something Pei says the team is considering.
As for what form the Phone 2 will take, Pei is cagey. “We’re developing a smartphone that’s more premium than the Nothing Phone (1) and software will be a big focus area for us,” he says. “Our team is close to 100 people on software, and I brought in a lot of people that I used to work with before in my past life.” Expect more details about the Phone 2 to be steadily teased out in the months ahead.