Facepalm: Nothing is bringing its inaugural smartphone to the US, albeit not in the traditional sense. The London-based tech firm has announced a beta membership program for its US audience. In exchange for $299, members will receive a final model of the Phone (1) featuring 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage (the same one that is sold globally). It'll come loaded with Nothing OS 1.5, which is powered by Android 13, and you'll also have the opportunity to claim a Nothing Community Black Dot.
Nothing is quick to note that its handset might not work with all US carriers and since the software is still in beta. In the FAQ for the beta program, the company said 5G is not supported on AT&T. T-Mobile does support 5G on the Phone (1), but not across all bands. Compatibility with Verizon is listed as "very limited" as 5G and CDMA networks are not supported.
Nothing further points out that some apps, including Netflix and YouTube, might not function properly with Nothing OS 1.5. "The OS can hinder the use of the phone in ways we can't predict," the company added.
The beta program will run until June 30. After that, the phone is yours to keep and you can upgrade to the final version of the operating system. There is a 14-day return period but after that, you're stuck with the device with no additional warranty coverage.
Nothing's Black Dot is simply an NFT gifted to early supports that can be used to unlock access to Nothing's official Discord channel.
Nothing launched its Phone (1) last July but only in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. In December, founder Carl Pei told CNBC that they didn't launch in the US out of the gate due to all of the additional technical support needed such as unique carrier customizations on top of Android. "We felt that we weren't ready before," Pei noted.
It's great to see Nothing find its way to the US but we wish it was with a phone sporting proper support for carriers and apps. As it stands, the beta offering certainly isn't a candidate for a daily driver.