Something big is happening this week: a new smartphone is released in the US. This isn’t a special thing, as new phones aren’t exactly rare, but it comes from a brand that has never released a phone in the US before, and a very special one indeed.
It deserves your full attention, not because it’s such a rare occurrence, but because buyers finally have more choice.
When did this last time?
I live in the UK and having a choice of phones from a variety of different brands is normal. Whether I have $200 or $2,000 to spend on a new phone, I can rest assured that my choice expands well beyond Samsung or Apple-only devices. In addition to the brands that are present in the US, OnePlus, Motorola and Google, for example Oppo, Huawei, Realme and Honor all sell their devices here as well.
The list also currently includes Nothing, the tech brand started by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei. The Nothing Phone 1 may have had a very limited release in the US, but it has been sold online, in shops and via a courier in the UK from the start. But that will change on July 11, when the Nothing Phone 2 is announced and will officially be made available in the US on day one.
It’s impossible to overstate how important this deal is, so to give some context to those not as deeply invested in the smartphone world as Digital Trends’ Mobile section is, we were pretty sure last time a previously unknown brand released a new phone in the US was in 2017 when the Essential PH-1 hit the scene. Before that, the Nextbit Robin arrived in 2016 and Pei’s former company OnePlus arrived in 2014.
It’s a rare event
So that’s three new brands over the course of about 10 years. Phones from companies like Planet Computers, Blu, and Unihertz don’t really count, as the devices never launch with much fanfare and are mostly sold through Amazon or are crowdfunded. They have their place but don’t seem to be targeting the mainstream. It’s also highly unlikely you’ll name the CEO of Blu or Planet Computers, but mention the name Carl Pei in tech circles and you’ll get many nods of knowledge.
Razer (which eventually acquired Nextbit) and TCL made a much bigger deal on phones released in the US during this time period, but they don’t count either. Both are brand names that many more people would likely recognize, with gamers very familiar with Razers products and TV enthusiasts well aware of TCL’s expertise when it comes to screens. Amazon’s failed Fire Phone falls under the same umbrella, as does Palm, which has resurrected a previously wildly popular brand.
In recent years, the biggest names have done it stopped selling phones in the US than it started, with TCL abandoning BlackBerry, Huawei ending its run almost before it started, and LG giving up phones entirely in 2021. No new brands have arrived to take over from LG Instead, his departure has helped HMD Global sell more mid-range Nokia phones and Motorola capitalize on its long brand history to gain market share. There’s never been a better time to shake things up.
Much needed pizzazz
Of the three brands I mentioned earlier, only OnePlus still exists. With no new brands arriving, its business as usual in the US market, and while it is not stagnant, it lacks vibrancy. Its imperative Nothing doesn’t suffer the same fate, and luckily, the product it’s coming with is brimming with pizazz and is unlike anything else you’ve seen.
Of course, it has flashing lights on the back, a feature taken from the Nothing Phone 1, which has had more uses than one might initially expect. It truly feels like nothing else, and if the Nothing Phone 1’s build quality and reliability are anything to go by, there’s no danger of encountering a Pixel-like coin toss when it comes to getting a good one. We have a solid idea of the specs, which look good, and we’re also pretty confident that the price will be on the right side of a Galaxy S23.
Then you have Carl Pei. A charismatic CEO who seems to love technology as much as we do and is never afraid to break the rules to spread the word about Nothing. We have seen how he has operated with OnePlus and his love of him for a good marketing gimmick. They may not have all been so welcome, but they were Never boring, and if you want people to pay attention in a market dominated by two big names, you have to impress.
Go out and tell people about Nothing
If you’re in the US and interested in technology and smartphones, you should be jumping up and down with joy at the imminent arrival of Nothing and the Nothing Phone 2. Go out and shout it on the street, tell your neighbor, the person at Starbucks, and anyone who looks will listen. Solar eclipses happen more frequently than brand new phones released in the US, so you definitely won’t exaggerate the importance of the event.
Yes, the event. It happens at 8am PT on July 11, and you should watch it. You should also consider the Nothing Phone 2 as your next smartphone, it should be as good as we expect, and tell others to do the same. Indifference, or a quick glance before picking up a Galaxy A54, runs the risk of killing the best newcomer to the US we’ve seen in a decade, and the more they fail, the less they’ll consider it worth trying.
It’s easy to think that the arrival of the Nothing Phone 2 isn’t special or important. After all, new stuff is being released every day. But this is important, and the very act of launching Nothing in the US should be applauded, as it is definitely not an easy task for any company, let alone one with only a handful of products under its belt that didn’t even exist in the 2020. Nothing is coming to America with the right product, as long as it lives up to our expectations. It is your responsibility not to let it disappear into oblivion. Nothing has OnePlus DNA, so for the sake of the US phone market, let’s make it another OnePlus-style success story.
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