Trend Alert | Phone (1) By Nothing

Izzy Hall

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

Apple is one of those companies that’s so dominant in its field, it seems unassailable. It consistently ranks as the top tech brand among Gen Z in our annual Youth 100 reports, and since it announced record revenues in its latest financial reports, it shows no sign of slowing down. However, hype for Apple’s recent smartphone releases hasn’t reached the same fever pitch as the earlier models, and rival products such as the Google Pixel have won over some former Apple loyalists. A new contender is seizing this opportunity to attempt to disrupt the market.

Nothing is a London-based consumer tech startup that launched its first product, a pair of wireless earphones called Ear (1), in 2021. It wasn’t until this week that founder Carl Pei revealed Nothing’s plans to be more than just an audio company. They want to take on the most universally beloved and iconic tech product of our time: the iPhone. This summer will see the launch of their first smartphone, simply named Phone (1), along with their own operating system, Nothing OS, a streamlined version of Android.

Asserting itself as “the new Apple” is a pretty audacious move for a startup as new and unproven as Nothing, but the release of Phone (1) will be hotly anticipated thanks to positive reviews from tech media and fans for their first product, Ear (1). Nothing has also used the kind of marketing techniques favoured by streetwear brands and influencer entrepreneurs to create hype around their products. Phone (1) was launched via a livestream with over 240,000 views within the first 24 hours.

These aren’t quite Apple Event numbers yet, but it shows that the spectacle associated with Apple product launches is a key inspiration for Carl Pei and his team. The cult following of Apple is another element Nothing strives to emulate, and there are positive signs that they are achieving it. When they opened up the opportunity for fans to invest in the business last year, they reached their goal of raising $1.5 million within one minute. The brand has clearly caught the attention of the tech community – now the challenge is to live up to their big claims, and to prove that Nothing has the potential to be not just a status symbol for tech trend followers, but to become as broadly popular and influential as the global tech giant that inspired them.

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