Merely hours after Nothing revealed the first official look at its hyped-up first smartphone, a video has surfaced showing the device’s pointlessly flashy notification light system underneath the transparent rear panel. Nothing, a buzzy startup from OnePlus alumnus Carl Pei, has been teasing its first smartphone for the past few weeks, and has even dropped a preview build of the Nothing OS launcher that customers will experience on its phone. So far, the company only has a pair of earbuds in its product portfolio, but the brand has plans to create an Apple-inspired ecosystem of devices that offer tight integration.
The hype around Nothing’s first phone has been on the rise lately, which is not surprising, given that Pei was the brains behind OnePlus’ own viral marketing tactics in its early days. Of course, the invite-based system was somewhat infuriating for those waiting to get their hands on the latest “flagship killer” phone from the Chinese brand. Nothing has attracted some high-profile investors, but so far, it has kept the innards of its upcoming phone under the wraps. Even now, the only confirmation is that the Nothing Phone (1) will be powered by one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.
Journalist Lorenz Keller has now shared a short video from what looks like an event hosted by Nothing where its highly-anticipated phone was showcased. He also posted a lengthier look on his YouTube channel. The video shows the phone from multiple angles, and it looks like a mish-mash of the iPhone X’s camera island design and the flat sides introduced by the iPhone 12 quartet. But hey, a little design inspiration is not a red flag, especially when it comes from a brand that Nothing itself considers a peer. Notably, the phone misses out on an alert slider. But the real star of the show is the signature pattern of LED strips surrounding the camera lenses and wireless charging coil that light up, apparently to notify users about any incoming messages or alerts.
What’s The Point, Nothing?
Without a doubt, Nothing has taken a bold design step with the transparent build and the eye-catching LED notification strips. But it’s also kind of pointless. To see those fancy notification LEDs in action – and grab some eyeballs from people nearby – one would have to keep the phone upside down, and then turn it over to see what the alert was for. Not the ideal distraction-free device one might want to keep on the workstation. Flip the phone on its back (which is how most people place their phones), and the glowing LED strips are rendered redundant. Nothing hasn’t said anything about scratch-proofing or reinforcing the glassy rear panel, but not many buyers would want to use it without a case.
Even Apple, with all its legendary R&D prowess and billions of dollars in its coffers, hasn’t been able to shatter-proof the pricey iPhones, which also use glass on the front and back. It is unlikely that the Nothing Phone (1) will turn out to be any different. Put a case on it, and all that transparent design wizardry again goes into hiding. And of course, those blinking strips, too. The only solution here is a see-through silicone case if one truly, really wants to keep that questionably appealing design view. Nothing’s team has definitely managed to create a phone that stands out, and has given it a utilitarian twist, too. But it has its own caveats that border on the edge of inanity.