Nothing has confirmed that its debut smartphone, the Phone 1, won’t be getting a widespread release in the US or Canada, PC Mag reports. Instead, a “limited number” of the devices will be distributed to community investors in the country as part of a “closed beta,” Nothing said in a statement. It added that it hopes to launch a US-supported smartphone in the future.
“While we’d love to bring Phone 1 to the entire community around the world, we’re focusing on home markets, including the UK and Europe, where we have strong partnerships with leading local carriers,” the company told PC Mag in a statement. “It takes a lot to launch a smartphone as you know, from ensuring the handset is supported by the country’s cellular technologies to carrier partnerships and local regulation, and as we’re still a young brand we need to be strategic about it.”
PC Mag reports that anyone who tries to use Nothing’s phone in the US is likely to have “unpredictable” coverage on T-Mobile, no support for voice over LTE on AT&T, and no service at all on Verizon.
Rumblings that the Phone 1 will not receive a full US release first started to emerge after a limited number of the smartphones were put up for presale on StockX ahead of the device’s official launch on July 12th. The product listing came with a disclaimer that the phone “is not fully supported in North America. Functionality may be impacted depending on your carrier, coverage, speed and/or reliability; or it may not function at all.”
The US smartphone market has historically been difficult for new entrants to break into. Phones from popular Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei generally don’t get widespread releases in the country, and handset selections from US carriers are dominated by Apple and Samsung. It’s perhaps unsurprising that a startup like Nothing hasn’t had more luck breaking through.