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The Nothing Phone could be coming to take on OnePlus

Nothing logo
(Image credit: Nothing)

After leaving OnePlus in 2020, the company’s co-founder Carl Pei went on to create the tech brand Nothing. The company’s first product — the Nothing Ear (1) earphones — were warmly received by reviewers when they launched last year.

Now a tweet from Pei has got the rumor mill buzzing that Nothing’s next product will be a return to his OnePlus smartphone roots

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“Back on Android,” he simply tweeted. 

Of course, this could simply be a statement of fact given the tweet comes via Twitter for Android, and as recently as February 12 he had tweeted from an iPhone (opens in new tab). Given his follow-up tweet (opens in new tab) was praise for Android 12, that certainly feels like the most likely explanation: sometimes a tweet is just a tweet.  

But maybe not. Last year, 91mobiles (opens in new tab) reported that Nothing would be launching its first phone “by early 2022”. The site notes the company’s partnership with chip maker Qualcomm (opens in new tab) and the acquisition of Andy Rubin’s Essential phone brand (opens in new tab) as further pointers that Nothing could be preparing to enter the crowded Android market place in the near future. 

Whether intended as a statement of fact or a cryptic teaser, it certainly has got tongues wagging. And not just from consumers, with both the official Android and Snapdragon accounts taking the opportunity to stir the pot a little. 

“We’ve got a lot to catch up on Carl,” tweeted the Android account with a winking emoji, while the official Snapdragon account concluded that a picture is worth 1,000 words:

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Nothing Phone: Just a matter of time? 

Bluntly, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if a company founded by someone who had previously had great success launching Android smartphones branched out into Android smartphones.

Indeed, when he first started Nothing, Pei was pretty clear that earphones were just the beginning for the brand. “We’ll start with simpler products, wireless earbuds,” he said last year. “We’re going to have multiple products throughout the year, not just audio products, and eventually we want to build it so these devices talk to each other.”

True wireless earphones go hand-in-hand with smartphones, so that feels like the logical next step. While the ‘early 2022’ release date mentioned by 91mobiles feels a bit tight, it’s surely only a matter of time before we see the first Nothing smartphone, whether this particular tweet has anything to do with it or not. 

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.