The Nothing Phone (2) has just been confirmed by Carl Pei in an exclusive interview with Inverse. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Details are a little thin on the ground right now, but three things are for sure: it will be “more premium,” there is a huge focus on software experience, and it will launch in “late 2023” with the US being the company’s number one priority.
This is a huge mic drop moment for the smartphone industry. Up until now, the Nothing Phone (1)’s availability has been rather limited, so to see the brand go global is a tantalising prospect. And beyond these three core confirmations, Pei also said a couple of other things that we can read into a little bit, to figure out more about what to expect from the Nothing Phone (2).
Nothing Phone (2) release date
The current word on a Nothing Phone (2) release date is a little vague, but it has been confirmed to launch in “late 2023.”
What does this mean exactly? We don’t know. But if I’m a gambling man, I would look to late October as a logical release window. September is dominated by the iPhone 15, and early October is going to be Google Pixel 8 time.
To try and launch anything during this time means it will be easy to get lost in the noise, but to see these phones launch with inevitably minor updates, and drop something completely different after the storm is what I would do.
Nothing Phone (2) price
No word on price yet, unfortunately. So all we can do in this situation is make some educated guesses based on what has been said so far.
Carl talks about the Nothing Phone (2) being “more premium,” which through Inverse’s smart work at pushing a little harder on what this word means, seems to translate into a potential flagship phone.
This could put the price anywhere between the $599 of the Pixel 7, all the way up to $999. Given the value for money that Nothing has championed in all its products so far, I’d say it’ll be on the cheaper end of that scale.
Nothing Phone (2) design
Transparency has been Nothing’s m/o, and it will surely be the same again. As Pei pointed out, “[U.S.] consumers as a whole are quite bored and indifferent [with existing phones]” and “foot traffic into the stores for people checking out new phones hasn't increased.”
America hasn’t really had anything new, interesting or different that breaks the norm of smartphone design. So it will be interesting to see its response to a see-through back and an updated version of that glyph interface round back.
“From a business point of view, [Apple and Samsung] shouldn't go very niche and try something completely different because they might alienate current users. That's where smaller companies like us can come in and try and do something different. It's not that we're smarter or that they can't, but it just doesn't make sense for them to do it,” Pei added.
So long as they keep that gorgeous OLED display round the front with completely symmetrical bezels, I will be a happy chappy!
Nothing Phone (2) specs
As confirmed by Carl Pei at MWC, the Nothing Phone (2) will come armed with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.
“We’re developing a smartphone that’s more premium than the Nothing Phone (1) and software will be a big focus area for us,” he said. Inverse then pushed him a little to figure out exactly what “premium” means.
“Mobile chipsets have really improved over the last 7–9 years. That's why I want to avoid calling the Phone (2) a flagship because that would mean that the Phone (1) was not a flagship. Within our own portfolio of smartphones, the Phone (1) was very much a flagship in terms of the amount of care we put into the product. That's why I used the word ‘premium’ [to describe the Phone (2)] instead, which signifies that it’s a more premium step up, but it's still a flagship just like the Phone (1).”
A lot to parse from this particular quote, but I think that while Carl is using “flagship” in a different sense (as to not underwhelm the impact of the Phone (1)), the word “premium” is doing a lot of legwork to suggest quite the significant spec bump.
Nothing Phone (2) software
Software, in Pei’s own words, is a huge focus for the next Nothing Phone. “Now our team is close to 100 people on software, and I brought in a lot of people that I used to work with before in my past life,” he commented.
I’m pretty confident in saying that it will be based on Android 13, given how good the beta has been on Nothing Phone (1). “People really feel like the Android 13 beta that we released is a step up from the previous Nothing OS that was half in-house and half outsourced.” I agree with Pei here. It’s super smooth and really fast to zip around the OS.
And while Nothing OS was a little limited at launch, the team has worked hard on expanding upon the base and providing a ton of user friendly features.
Nothing Phone (2) cameras
Nothing has been said by Nothing on what snappers you can expect, but let’s take a look at what we currently have in the Phone (1) and speculate wildly, because who doesn’t love speculation?
Currently, the camera setup is quite a belter: a 50MP main, a 50MP ultrawide, and a 12MP selfie shooter. On its initial release, the post processing was a little lacking, which led to some ISO noise. But after a ton of software updates that tweaked the camera software, this is a strong system for photography. Not only that, but the glyph interface on the back makes for a great little fill light for pictures too — handily beating the harshness of the LED flash.
I can’t see the company deviating too much from this status quo or doing anything too fancy like a periscope zoom lens. What I can see is improvements on the current formula: a wider aperture on these lenses, updated sensors, and a wider angle on the ultra wide are the first things that come to mind.
Nothing Phone (2) outlook
As Carl himself said, a third of Nothing ear (1) sales were in the US. Not launching a smartphone over in the States is missing a big slice of potential revenue pie. This is the next logical step for the company, and it sounds like the company’s going all out on this one.
Not to the point that you should expect the Nothing Phone (2) to be an all song and dance Galaxy 23 Ultra-type monster with several cameras and a gigantic screen. That’s never been Nothing’s style.
To me, something more akin to the likes of the Google Pixel 8 and iPhone 15 is more likely — a well-rounded flagship with a focus on a holistic experience, rather than just throwing the kitchen sink at it.
That’s the kind of Nothing Phone sequel that I’m pretty hyped about. The Phone (1) was good, but you always felt that ceiling in performance. To unlock its true potential with a more powerful chip and get Nothing’s unique aesthetic would make for quite the formidable beast.