Some smartphone brands have decided that it's fun to slowly tease their upcoming devices over the course of many months, but the Nothing Phone (1) might be a case where that backfires. Even though the new Android phone isn't expected to debut for several more weeks, it won't go on sale in the US.
We first heard this when Nothing listed its debut smartphone on DropX (opens in new tab), which basically meant you can bid on one of the first hundred models made - why you'd want to spend hard-earned money on a smartphone you've never even fully seen is beyond us (especially when the top bids mere hours after launch were $1,500 in the US and £1,100 in the UK - way more than the phone will likely cost - and have doubled that since).
But hidden away in the terms and conditions was this line: "Nothing phone (1) is not fully supported in North America." You mean the Nothing Phone (1) might not go on sale in the huge US mobile market? Oh, okay.
Nothing has confirmed since that this is the case - other than a small trial run, it won't be selling the Phone (1) in the US. It's hoping to bring future products to the States, but it's a vague hope.
Nothing wouldn't exactly be alone in avoiding the US as far as mobile makers go, as plenty of other Chinese brands including Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo don't sell their devices there. But since Nothing was founded by OnePlus' ex-co-founder, and given that OnePlus is one of the few Chinese phone success stories in the US, we assumed that the Phone (1) would be available stateside too (if only to rival OnePlus).
Nothing has provided a long list of carriers in different regions, with Optus, Telstra and Vodafone ranging the thing in Australia (though none will sell the phone - that'll only be available from the company itself), and Three, EE, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone getting it in the UK (though only O2 will sell the thing, the rest will just be compatible with it). There's no mention of the US, again hinting that the upcoming Android phone won't go on sale there.
So, if you're based stateside, you might want to remove the Nothing Phone (1) from your wish-list.
Analysis: could this hurt the phone?
Generally speaking, there are fewer smartphone companies selling devices in the US, and so Nothing would have an easier job of winning market share if it could prove to Americans that its phone was worthy.
But if the phone doesn't sell in the US, there are potential problems based around the device's funding. Nothing has already gone through a few rounds of investments, getting money from businesses and keen fans in order to make the phone and the Nothing earbuds.
If excited US-based Nothing fans have invested money in a tech brand they believe in, only to discover that they won't be able to buy the phone, they'll likely end up pretty upset.
Plus, the disclaimer is hidden in small print, underneath the big graphic that shows you what price someone has bid for the phone... in US dollars. We can see people bidding for the phone, only to later realize it might not be supported in the US.
Hopefully, the disclaimer is just poorly worded, and the Nothing Phone (1) will go on sale in the US, either straight after launch or at some point later. Because if not, there might be some annoyed Nothing Phone (1) fans out there who'll have to turn to our list of the best Android phones for an alternative.
Update: this story initially went live under the title "Nothing Phone (1) may not go on sale in the US". Since our initial publication on 21/06/22, Nothing has confirmed our initial analysis, and has also provided some further information on the phone's availability. The story has been updated to reflect this.