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TL;DR: If you were looking forward to seeing Nothing's Phone (1) land in the US this summer, prepare for some disappointment. The company has confirmed that its first handheld will not be getting a widespread release in the United States or Canada when it launches on July 12. Only a limited number of private community investors within these locations will be able to get their hands on the device via a closed beta program.
Nothing confirmed its plans to launch the Phone (1) back in March, with CEO Carl Pei promising it would ignite a change in the "sleepy" smartphone market and be "the most compelling alternative to Apple."
But it seems those in the US and Canada won't find out if the Phone (1) lives up to Pei's bold claims when it arrives on July 12. In a statement to PCMag, the company said, "While we'd love to bring phone (1) to the entire community around the world, we're focusing on home markets, including the UK 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."
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
The news doesn't come as a total surprise. It's difficult for new arrivals to break into a US carrier market dominated by handsets from Apple and Samsung, and increasingly demanding requirements have made it even more difficult for startups like Nothing in recent years.
Nothing did say that it has plans to launch a US-supported smartphone in the future, though when that might be is unclear. And while it will be possible to try an upcoming Phone (1) in the States before then, the company said to expect "unpredictable" coverage on T-Mobile, no voice-over-4G on AT&T, and no service on Verizon at all.
If you want to see the Nothing Phone (1) reveal, make sure to sign up in advance to watch the livestreamed event.