Nothing, the smartphone brand owned by OnePlus’ co-founder, plans to debut in the US

December 5, 2022 0 Comments

UK-based smartphone brand Nothing plans to enter the US market to challenge Apple’s iPhone.

According to CNBC, the company is in early talks with American carriers about launching a new smartphone in the country. Founded in October 2020, the startup is owned by Carl Pei, co-founder of Chinese phone brand OnePlus. Pei left OnePlus in 2020 and has been instrumental in designing the company’s smartphone lineup and marketing.

The new hardware venture, which counts iPod creator Tony Fadell and Alphabet’s VC arm GV as its investors, launched Phone (1), a mid-range device with a design, price and specs similar to Apple’s entry-level iPhone SE, in July.

It has only launched its smartphone in Europe, the Middle East and Asia so far. 

Pei told CNBC that they did not launch Nothing in the US because they needed a lot of additional technical support in that market, but now they feel they are ready for it.

“Now we are in discussions with some carriers in the US to potentially launch a future product there,” said the Chinese-Swedish entrepreneur.

While its smartphones haven’t been officially launched in the US, the company sees a third of its sales of its recently launched Ear (stick) headphones now coming from the country. “It’s definitely a market where there’s already a lot of interest for our products. And if we launch our smartphones there, I’m sure we could obtain significant growth,” Pei said.

The money-losing company expects its revenue to grow more than tenfold by 2022 — from about $20 million in 2021 to about $250 million this year, according to data shared with CNBC.

Apple’s active installed base, which takes into account people who bought phones second-hand, surpassed 50% in the U.S. in the second quarter, surpassing Android, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

However, it faces major challenges in the US, where Apple is headquartered, amid an economic downturn.

Data showed US consumer confidence fell in October to a three-month low as widespread inflation and growing concerns about the economic outlook weighed on Americans. Therefore, people will be more cautious when making non-essential consumption.

Additionally, it is not easy to take market share away from Apple. According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s active user base in the US (taking into account used phone users) exceeded 50% in the second quarter, surpassing Android. 

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