Technology

Can Nothing Phone 1 fill the vacuum in a segment dominated by OnePlus? 

Launched on Tuesday, Can Nothing Phone 1 fill the vacuum in a segment dominated by OnePlus? 

Launched on Tuesday, Can Nothing Phone 1 fill the vacuum in a segment dominated by OnePlus?  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Nothing Phone 1 landed in the initial premium category, a price category ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 39,999. This segment has been diminishing in India as most phones are sold under Rs 29,999 or over Rs 40,000. OnePlus had a stronghold in this segment, and now it has a competitor in Nothing Phone 1.  

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Nothing’s phone banks on its new OS called Nothing OS, which the UK-based tech startup claims to be closer to the stock Android experience  sans bloatware.  

“The phone is entering with a lot many promises and expectations in the Indian market. However, how the overall experience is delivered will define its future course. Right now, the phone has set several tall expectations, which might not be easy to meet,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at Techarc said.  

While Nothing has created the initial hype around its new phone, the brand is still very much concentrated on tech-savvy and urban users. “Nothing did well on the marketing strategy and already built a hype among the consumers. The mindshare is there and it is partly because of their good entry in True Wireless Stereo (TWS) category as well,” Tarun Pathak, Research Director at Counterpoint Research said.  

Nothing’s phone targets OnePlus buyers in India at a time when the latter’s brand gets older, which could make it lose the newness aura around it, particularly after its merger with Oppo’s ecosystem. While its Oxygen OS did well in the market, the amalgamation of Color OS led to a loss of its fan base in India. 

“We believe that the competition will remain high from the Android camp [likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus] though it [Phone 1] has positioned itself as an iPhone challenger. Additionally, the timing could have been better as we are now witnessing softening of consumer demand due to macro-economic headwinds,” Pathak added.  

For the record, Nothing Phone 1 has a 6.55-inch OLED display, 120 Hz refresh rate, 4,500mAh battery, 33W charger, Snapdragon 778 G+ with up to 12GB RAM, 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor, and Glyph interface. On paper, it might look like a normal phone, but people would love to try Nothing OS and Glyph interface.  

Real Test  

Nothing has to work on creating brand awareness and seek out ways to go deeper in India. Flipkart has a good PIN code coverage; but, sales alone is not enough. “The real driver for Nothing will be post-purchase behavior and feedback in terms of user interface and experience than hardware specs or LED lights,” Pathak noted.  

Before Phone 1, Nothing only sold wireless earbuds, Ear 1. This device had limited success and has till now sold under a million units, globally, as per Counterpoint’s data, as the brand recall value was muted. 

Nothing will have to work on positioning its new product at places where consumers can have a better recall. And that’s a function of marketing. 

“With a brand new, largely untested product (including the new Nothing OS software that may need to go through multiple updates to get everything ironed out) and stiff competition from numerous Chinese vendors, not to mention Samsung and Apple, Nothing has its work cut out. It may make a bit of a splash initially, but it will take time to gain momentum,” Pathak added.  

Having said that, these are still early days for Nothing Phone 1 and the clean, uncluttered experience and uniqueness will define its success over time.  

“Nothing needs to scale up a lot on mass awareness beyond leveraging the tech world equity it has basis Carl Pei’s popularity among tech fraternity,” Kawoosa points out.  


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Printable version | Sep 8, 2022 4:53:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/can-nothing-phone-1-fill-the-vacuum-in-a-segment-dominated-by-oneplus/article65635582.ece