The Nothing Phone (1) was expected to make a big splash in the Android phone market when it launched earlier this year. Unfortunately, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new phone had a glaring problem — it wasn’t available in the U.S.
That’s a problem that could be going away sooner rather than later. As reported by Hypebeast (opens in new tab), [ex] Pei announced an expansion into the U.S. market on December 15 via Twitter. [ex]. This announcement coincided with the launch of Nothing’s Nothing OS 1.5 beta, [ex] which aims to bring a version of Android 13 to the cheap phone.
While current Nothing Phone (1) users can sign up for the beta through their phone, it appears that U.S. beta testing of the OS will also involve beta testing the U.S. version of the phone itself.
Preparing for a US launch 🇺🇸While Android 13 Open Beta is gradually being rolled out in our existing markets, we will be extending it to the US market via a testing program with access to Phone (1). Would love to get feedback from our community there. Stay tuned.December 15, 2022
At this time, there is nothing officially known about the U.S. market testing program aside from Pei’s tweet. We will update accordingly if signup for a U.S. beta becomes available to the general public.
Nothing OS 1.5: Expected upgrades
While the next version of Nothing’s bespoke Android 13 operating system is still in beta testing, Nothing has provided a list of expected upgrades compared to the Android 12-based Nothing OS 1.
The biggest highlight is easily faster app loading speed. Nothing promises a 50% increase in app loading speed, which is a major performance improvement, not just a quality-of-life upgrade. Given that in our Nothing Phone (1) review we knocked the phone for its mediocre performance, this could drastically improve how we view the phone.
Other expected performance upgrades include the ability to close active background apps directly from the notification center to save battery and increased background memory. It also is expected to bring a self-repair feature that “keeps the Phone (1) running like it’s new” by “clearing unused cache and expired system dumps.”
Time will tell how these updates improve the phone, or how U.S. testing of the phone goes. But for now, if you want a great mid-range Android phone and you live in the U.S. the clear choice is the Google Pixel 6a. It is our best cheap phone — Android or not — and brings the power of Google’s Tensor chip to a budget phone. Plus, right now you can get the Google Pixel 6a for just $299 at Amazon, making it even more budget-friendly.