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April Fool's joke? Is this the Nothing Phone (1)? Tracking at Essential

Dominik Bärlocher
Zurich, on 01.04.2022

It could be an April Fool's joke. Or not. Nothing is supposed to introduce a smartphone today.

An image, a cryptic teaser with the iconic phrase "One More Thing." Carl Peis Nothing promises to introduce something today that could possibly be a smartphone. But a look at the calendar shows that could all be smoke and mirrors. Today is April 1, the day when companies and people play more or less hilarious pranks on each other.

But Nothings tweet shows more than just a joke. It shows a picture. With that and the few scant facts about the Nothing Phone (1), the search for clues can begin.

Update 01.04.2022, 10:59 a.m.: Another Tweet

Nothing has spoken out on its Twitter account. The company announces a boring phone called Another (1).

It's a joke. In fact, the Phone (1) is coming in the summer.

Update 01.04.2022, 09:50: The hidden message in the picture

There is a URL hidden in the picture. It leads to a video:

It is worth watching the video on YouTube and reading the description.

Reader [Anonymous] also discovered this in the comments column. Cheers!

Update 01.04.2022, 09:23: Reader Plon discovers Swiss page

Just minutes after the article below was published, reader Plon discovered the page https://ch.nothing.tech/. On it, Nothing announces the Another (1), meaning "still (1)". The model is an April Fool's joke. What is not a joke, however, is that the Phone (1) is officially and unsurprisingly called Phone (1) and is coming in the summer.

Das Another (1) ist ein Aprilscherz
Das Another (1) ist ein Aprilscherz
ch.nothing.tech

Nothing writes on its website that it will be "like no other Phone."

The facts: What we know

Nothing is new to the market. The brand launched its debut product last year, the Nothing Ear (1). The wireless headphones impressed not only with their price, but also with their transparent design. Shortly after the release, the world public asked: now what?

Since company founder Carl Pei has been talking about an ecosystem since Nothing's inception, it is clear that a centerpiece for said ecosystem should come sooner or later: a smartphone.

February 2021: Nothing buys Essential

It is not known when exactly Nothings started working on a smartphone. The rule of thumb says that it takes plusminus two years to develop a phone. That would mean Nothing had already been at work for a year in February 2021. This somewhat clashes with the headline from that time, which says that Nothing bought all the naming rights and patents of the former smartphone company Essential.

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Is it possible to make an entire smartphone within a year based on a few ideas and patents? Probably so, but it shouldn't be easy. After all, not only does the phone have to be invented, but there are also supply chains to build, distributors to find and parts to buy. Among other things. Making a smartphone is much more complex than just saying "Yeah, I'm a little bored right now, let's make smartphones."

But an ambitious entrepreneur like Carl Pei could make it work. Except Nothing has known for a while that the deal with Essential would happen and already started developing the phone before the ink was dry under the sales contract.

October 2021: The concrete rumors

The first signs of this have already been seen in October 2021, when it was announced that Nothing was doing business with Qualcomm. Qualcomm makes the Snapdragon systems-on-a-chip (SoC) that power flagship smartphones.

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    Nothing: transparent phone to launch in a few months?

Back in October, a leaker said the Nothing Phone - unnamed at the time - was set to launch in "Spring 2022." April takes place every year in the spring, usually right after the end of March.

March 2022: Launch in April?

It's not the latest news that the Phone will be unveiled in April. I already reported this at the beginning of March.

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    Nothing: Is the Essential successor coming in April?

There was no further information about it at that time, but there were speculations: Will the smartphone be transparent like the headphones?

But an April Fool's joke? The image comparison

There is not much to be done with this fact situation, since little of it is actually fact. The leaks are reliable, but just rumors. However, Carl Pei has poured new oil on the fire with the tweet from March 31. Because there is a picture.

Die Unterseite des Nothing Phone (1)?
Die Unterseite des Nothing Phone (1)?
Twitter.com/nothing

With the Essential purchase being "[just about the patents]," it can be assumed that Nothing will adopt much of the Essential PH-1's design. Especially considering the time Nothing had to develop it. Time to make an image comparison:

Die Unterseite des Essential PH-1
Die Unterseite des Essential PH-1

The resemblance would be sought after. The Essential PH-1 has no antenna stripes at the bottom, the speaker on the left and the SIM card slot on the right. But there is a smartphone that resembles the picture from Nothing's account from below: The iPhone 13 Pro Max:

Die Unterseite des iPhone 13 Pro Max
Die Unterseite des iPhone 13 Pro Max

Think away the Lightning adapter and replace it with a USB-C jack. Voilà, the picture. The joke, should it be one, is not just "Höhö, let's file Apple", but part of Nothings' strategy. The company wants to compete with Apple with the Nothing Phone (1).

And then there's another thing: The phrase "(1) more thing", which Steve Jobs used for ideas of hit products.

The circumstantial evidence is there for both. The tweet could be an April Fool's joke. But the tweet could also be the first look at the Nothing Phone (1).

Let's wait and see what the British brand Nothing does: either they show a smartphone today or they make... Nothing, that is.

We'll stay tuned.

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Journalist. Author. Hacker. A storyteller searching for boundaries, secrets and taboos – putting the world to paper. Not because I can but because I can’t not.


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