OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei's new company Nothing will not be bringing its first phone — the Phone (1) — to the U.S. The firm said that at the moment "a limited number of our private community investors in the U.S." will get the device through a closed beta program.
The development comes a day after the company showed off the phone's backlight trickery for notifications and calls through a YouTube video on the MKBHD channel. Notably, the channel's U.S.-based creator, Marques Brownlee, didn't say anything about the North American availability of the device.
The development was first noticed by leaker Evan Blass, who noted that it's hard for new phone companies to get good carrier deals.
Sounds like Nothing is skipping the US with respect to Phone (1) availability and network compatibility. Disappointing, but understandable. Hard for young brands to achieve carrier adoption here, and without those deals, not really worth negotiating retail channels at all...
— Ev (@evleaks) June 21, 2022
In a statement, the company said its phone is not tuned for U.S. cellular bands, so it will have unpredictable or no coverage on major carriers like AT&T and Verizon. It also noted that while it wants to bring a future device to the North American market, it wants to concentrate on its home markets of Europe and the U.K.
"While we’d love to bring the Phone (1) to the entire community around the world, we're focusing on home markets, including the U.K. and Europe, where we have strong partnerships with leading local carriers. It takes a lot to launch a smartphone as you know, from ensuring the handset is supported by the country’s cellular technologies to carrier partnerships and local regulation, and as we're still a young brand we need to be strategic about it." the company said.
Earlier this month, Nothing's India general manager and VP, Manu Sharma, said that the firm plans to manufacture all phones sold in India locally.
We are thrilled to announce that every @Nothing phone (1) sold in India will be manufactured locally.
This is the real start of our journey and we cannot think of a better way to establish ourselves in India, which is a key market for us.https://t.co/6c2RdTWOer
— Manu Sharma (@buildingnothing) June 13, 2022
However, the company hasn't said anything about where it plans to manufacture devices sold in Europe. We've asked Nothing for a comment, and we'll update the story if we hear back.
The Phone (1) is the company's second product after it launched Earbuds (1) truly wireless buds last year. In a recent interview with Financial Times, Pei said that the firm sold more than 530,000 units of earbuds.
Nothing will officially launch the phone on July 12. The device will have a translucent back and will run a custom version of Android called Nothing OS.
Update June 23, 2022, 12:05 PM IST: Added the company's statement.