The Nothing phone reportedly coming soon to fight Galaxy S22, OnePlus 10 Pro

photo of carl pei holding two oneplus 6 phones
(Image credit: Manjunath Kiran / Getty)

The world of smartphones has progressively gotten smaller in recent years. But one of the two men who co-founded OnePlus could be gearing up to put out a new phone of his own. Carl Pei, now of the ridiculously-named Nothing, is supposedly readying a new phone for market.

TechCrunch, citing sources, says that a Nothing phone could be coming very soon, by the end of next month in fact. The site claims that Nothing has been working on this handset for over a year. Pei has allegedly shown off a prototype to key executives. TechCrunch even acquired a photo of the man meeting with a Qualcomm executive at MWC 2022. 

The Nothing Phone, depending on the specs, could wind up being a direct challenger to the Samsung Galaxy S22 series (on sale now) and the OnePlus 10 Pro (coming at the end of March). However, the only thing TechCrunch tips is the design, as "the source notes that the product will share a similar design language and 'elements of transparency' seen in Nothing’s first product."

Nothing has only one product right now, the Nothing Ear (1) truly wireless earbuds, which sport a tranparent design. But last year before the buds released, Pei teased that his new venture had a few products on the roadmap. And it turns out that one of those is a smartphone, if TechCrunch's source is to be believed.

Considering Pei's history and pedigree in the smartphone industry, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. But given the fate of the last smartphone upstart, Essential, I don't have high hopes for the success of the Nothing phone. The Essential Phone enjoyed a modicum of success as a cult hit, but that proved insufficient since that company caved in 2020.

Breaking into a market crowded with Android giants like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and even OnePlus is a tall order in this day and age. The Nothing phone, whatever it ends up being called, will have to seriously wow critics and Android users alike. Nothing will also need more than a see-through look and a grassroots campaign to see success. Earbuds are one thing, a smartphone is a whole other beast altogether. 

I'm not entirely sure what to expect with this alleged device. I want to see some interesting things, because I'm frankly worn out with the players we have now. But I'm also a cynic, and I'll need to see the Nothing phone succeed to believe it. And at this stage, I highly doubt there's anything that Pei could do to stand out. I really hope I can eat those words.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.