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Nothing's first ever Android smartphone has seemingly been leaked

Is this the Nothing smartphone?
(Image credit: Evan Blass (via twitter) )

When Carl Pei launched his London-based consumer tech startup, Nothing, in February 2021, we had high hopes – the Chinese visionary is brains behind smartphone brand OnePlus, after all. Initially, the company launched a set of near-transparent earbuds called Nothing Ear (1) which looked exciting, but failed to deliver as true AirPods alternatives under review. 

Now, following several rumours over the past few months, it seems Nothing is readying its first smartphone – that's if this snap from reliable tipster Evan Blass (opens in new tab) is to be believed. 

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No other details regarding the upcoming handset have been divulged, but this photo certainly shows Pei showing off what appears to be a prototype of the upcoming device to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon.

The photo was most likely taken at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, held between 28th February and 3rd March. Although it's an intriguing look at a fairly large smartphone (and not immediately recognisable as any other phone currently on the market) the photo doesn’t reveal too much in terms of cold, hard specs – or indeed a release date. 

As noted by AndroidCentral (opens in new tab), looks as if the device features a squared camera bump on the back. It would be sensible to assume that, in line with Nothing's not-really-there branding, the upcoming phone would share a similarly transparent design aesthetic as the Nothing Ear (1) wireless earbuds, although here it looks as if the handset is actually in a case.

As with the company's budget-conscious earbuds, it's highly likely that Nothing's bid to become one of the best Android phones will carry a highly competitive price tag. 

Can Pei's eager London-based startup successfully enter the smartphone arena with heavy-hitters Samsung, Sony and Huawei, or could the endeavour go the way of Amazon's largely forgotten 2014 Amazon Fire Phone? Time will tell. 

If you want to learn something about Nothing in the meantime, concrete announcements about Nothing's 2022 roadmap will be made at the company's Nothing: The Truth event on 23rd March, 2pm GMT / 9am EST / 6am PT / 12am AEDT. To RSVP to the virtual event, readers can visit nothing.tech (opens in new tab).   

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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.