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Akis Evangelidis, Co-founder Nothing at the official launch of Nothing Phone 2 in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

As global smartphone giants grapple with inflationary headwinds, Nothing, a three-year-old company, is harnessing the advantages of inflation to create accessible yet design-forward smartphones.

“I think, if anything, it plays an advantage in our products,” said Akis Evangelidis, Co-founder of Nothing.

The brand launched the highly anticipated Nothing Phone (2) in the UAE and GCC region on Monday, priced at Dh2,499 (12GB and 256GB) and Dh2,799 (12GB and 512GB).

Video: Virendra Saklani | Editing: Clint Egbert | Reporting: Nivetha Dayanand

“We carefully think of everything that goes into our product and ensure that part of having our product accessible is one of the key value propositions we want to have,” said Evangelidis. “We’re never going to be the best value for money because actually there is a lot of R&D that goes into like cracking the unique design and so on.”

Pre-orders for the Nothing Phone (2) will end on July 20 and will include a free Nothing Ear (Stick) with every purchase until stocks last.

Phone (2) will be publicly available across the GCC from July 21.

Pre-orders will be available in the following stores:

■ Sharaf DG

■ Amazon (UAE)

■ Jumbo

■ Virgin Megastore

■ Eros

Positive outlook

Evangelidis expressed enthusiasm about the market potential in the region, stating that the initial response has been encouraging. “We’ve seen a lot of appetite for a new brand in the region, which has traditionally been dominated by Apple and Samsung,” he said. “Nothing has already secured over 500 stores and eight partners, with some countries considering it the third major brand in the market.”

The co-founder highlighted the region’s familiarity with the Android platform, with an Android market share of over 80 per cent. He believes that the Android-savvy population will appreciate the unique value Nothing brings to the Android experience through its hardware and software innovations.

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Inflation impact

Evangelidis stated that inflation has been advantageous for Nothing’s products as they carefully consider every element to ensure accessibility without compromising on quality. By making strategic choices, such as utilising the optimised 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, Nothing aims to offer an accessible product without compromising on design and user experience.

Omar Sultan Al Olama
Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence addressing guests at the official launch of Nothing Phone (2) in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Nothing Phone (2)

The brand entered the market by focusing on design differentiation to start with. “In Phone (2), we actually took it a step further by scaling and reinforcing our product capabilities, including having our own software team, which we didn’t have for Phone (1) and actually we’re able to bring a level of design innovation and user interface innovation through the software,” said Evangelidis. “So now both the hardware and software experiences we have quite a unique proposition when it comes to the market.”

$96 million financing round
In July, Nothing announced a $96 million fundraising round led by Highland Europe, with participation from existing investors GV (Google Ventures), EQT Ventures and C Capital, alongside house music supergroup Swedish House Mafia.

“Nothing wants to bridge the gap between the company and its users – driving product innovation by delving deeper into consumer insights through its community feedback programs,” it said in a statement. To further support this goal, Nothing has held two community financing rounds and attracted over 8,000 private investors. Additionally, the company has appointed a community member as a Board Observer, ensuring that user interests remain at the forefront at all times.

Mindful usage

Evangelidis highlighted the core elements that set Nothing Phone (2) apart from other smartphones in the market. He emphasised the unique Glyph interface, which promotes mindful and intentional smartphone usage, reducing stress caused by constant distractions.

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With an assembly of 33 LEDs, the Glyph interface serves as an indicator for notifications, charging status, and even acts as a fill light for photos and videos. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

For example, if you order an Uber, you can set up the interface to act as a progress tracker, which allows you to watch the lights on the back of the phone countdown to keep an eye on the arrival of the driver without having to look at the screen in the front.

“We live in a society now where there are a lot of distractions and it can become quite overwhelming, so this whole kind of approach we bring in with Nothing is to have a more mindful and intentional usage when it comes to smartphones,” said Evangelidis.

The monochrome theme, a default feature of Nothing OS, further encourages a focused and intentional smartphone experience.

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The phone also features optimised camera capabilities, an enhanced screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a focus on sustainable practices, aiming to be one of the most environmentally friendly options available. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Diversifying price categories

When asked about plans to launch smartphones in different price categories, Evangelidis mentioned that Nothing aims to strike a balance between premium range and accessibility. While they do not plan to compete directly with brands like Samsung or Apple, Nothing intends to offer a range of products that cater to various consumer preferences and price points.

Market share and future outlook

Evangelidis emphasised that their primary focus is on getting the fundamentals right rather than immediate market dominance. With aspirations to become the third major brand in the premium segment, Nothing aims to provide consumers with a strong alternative to existing smartphone options.

Following its new entry into the GCC market, Nothing gained significant traction in the first quarter of 2023, particularly in Saudi Arabia. According to the recent shipment estimates from Canalys, Nothing ranked third smartphone brand in Saudi Arabia in the $500-and-above price range for the first quarter of 2023.

With its continued momentum, Nothing is well-positioned to continue its growth and establish itself as a major player in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.