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Nothing left to imagination as Nothing Phone 1 launches

A last-minute leak ahead of its debut today reveals everything there is to know about Nothing Phone 1, a creation of a consumer tech startup led by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei.

The biggest reveal at the London launch event was the price, which will start at £399, or the equivalent of about $475. Nothing Phone 1 will officially go on sale on July 21.

A UK-based company has been building hype over its first smartphone for months. It has offered official sneak peeks focused on the phone’s design, including a set of illuminating light strips on the back of the device. In contrast, unofficial leaks – so many that it has led to speculation they were planted – covered aspects like price.

With a modest price tag and equipped with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Nothing Phone 1 will be released across markets in Europe and Asia – but not the US – and seems set to compete with phones like Google’s Pixel 6 rather than upmarket Apple or Samsung flagships.

The phone’s firmware leak on the eve of its launch confirms that despite its flashy design, Nothing Phone 1 otherwise appears to be a rather generic product. Developer Kuba Wojciechowski, who obtained the leak, said in his Twitter “teardown” that the phone seems to be manufactured by a Chinese company BYD Electronic. The company designs and produces devices for other brands to sell under their names.

According to Wojciechowski, the phone’s software is also partially designed by BYD Electronic, which is why the device has many Chinese apps and third-party solutions, including its camera app and the game mode. He says that Nothing Phone 1 will run on Nothing OS 1 based on Android 12 but will struggle to update past Android 14, as the Android 11 vendor is at the core of its Snapdragon chip.

While the latest revelations have led to some disappointment among those eager to see one of the most-talked-about phones of 2022, its specifications do not mean that the device will perform poorly. If it functions well enough, it may just hit the mark among consumers looking for an affordable phone with an attractive design.

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