Nothing has confirmed that its debut smartphone, the Phone 1, won’t get a widespread release in the US or Canada, PCMag reports† Instead, a “limited number” of the devices will be distributed to community investors in the country as part of a “closed beta,” the statement said. It added that it hopes to launch a US-backed smartphone in the future.
“While we’re excited to bring Phone 1 to the entire community around the world, we’re targeting home markets, including the UK and Europe, where we have strong partnerships with leading local carriers,” the company said. PCMag in a statement. “There’s a lot involved in launching a smartphone, as you know, from making sure the handset is supported by the country’s mobile technologies, to partnering with carriers and local regulations, and because we’re still a young brand, we have to be strategic about it.”
PCMag reports that anyone trying to use Nothing’s phone in the US is likely to have “unpredictable” coverage on T-Mobile, no voice over LTE support on AT&T, and no service at all on Verizon.
Rumors that the Phone 1 wouldn’t get a full US release started to surface after a limited number of smartphones were released for sale on StockX ahead of the device’s official launch on July 12. The product listing came with a disclaimer that the phone is “not fully supported in North America. Functionality may be affected depending on your carrier, coverage, speed and/or reliability; or it may not work at all.”
The US smartphone market has traditionally been difficult for new entrants to break into. Phones from popular Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei are generally not widely released in the country, and handset selections from US carriers are dominated by Apple and Samsung. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a startup like Nothing hasn’t had more luck breaking through.