As expected, Nothing used its March 23rd “The Truth” event to announce its first smartphone, called the “phone (1).” While the company still hasn’t shared any images or specs related to the phone, it did give us a look at Nothing OS, a custom Android skin that will debut as a launcher on the Google Play Store this April.
Update, 4/28/22: The Nothing Launcher beta is now available!
According to Nothing, the custom operating system “captures the best features of pure Android, distilling the operating system to just the essentials.” I feel like I’ve heard these same words applied to OnePlus’ OxygenOS, which makes sense, given that Nothing CEO Carl Pei is the co-founder of OnePlus.
The only substantial thing we know about phone (1) is that it features three years of OS updates and four years of security updates. We rarely see this kind of software support in Android devices, and it’s good to see it in Nothing’s first smartphone.
Early images of the Nothing OS tell us very little about the operating system or launcher. All we know is that it’s a clean, simple, stripped-down version of Android with a few hints of flavor (particularly in the UI, fonts, and sounds). While Nothing tends to pad its announcements with fluffy language, the company clearly understands that customers don’t want their products full of the same fluff.
Here’s one weird thing; the only custom app featured in this announcement is a Nothing audio recorder. The company previously talked about its interest in a unified product ecosystem, which may require proprietary apps, so I assume that it has more than just an audio recorder in the works.
The Nothing OS launcher will arrive sometime this April, presumedly so customers can “try” a Nothing phone (1). More details related to the Nothing phone (1) will seep out before it goes on sale this summer.