Nothing Phone (1)’s transparent design is flashy and actually practical

Nothing Phone (1)'s transparent design is flashy and actually practical


Picture: Nothing

We’re a month away from the official launch of the Nothing Phone (1), but the London-based startup has already shared some revealing images of its first smartphone. Besides a full render that was posted on Twitter yesterday, the company hosted a private showcase of the Phone (1) in Switzerland, putting its signature, transparent design language in clear view.

The design of the Android is polarizing, to say the least. Given the see-through nature of Nothing’s first product, the Ear (1), it’s no surprise that the same design philosophy has been applied to the Phone (1). This interpretation of transparency is no throwback to old-school Game Boys, though. In reality, smartphones have layers of plastic and metal that cover (and protect) the inner workings within, so a transparent one, realistically, reveals nothing but that.


Picture: Nothing

Still, Nothing has something going for the Phone (1) that I’ve only seen done on gaming phones: LED illumination. But unlike the traditional RGB aesthetics that are meant for show, the Phone (1)’s backlighting serves as a notification reminder, flashlight, and possibly other functions that the company will unveil in July.

In a video (below) recorded by Rafael Zeier, one of the attendees at the Switzerland showcase, you can see the distinct patterns of light flashing and beaming through the Phone (1)’s transparent cover. It’s reminiscent of signal lamps that visualize Morse Code. Only in this case, do the lights communicate what the phone has to say.

This is by no means a revolutionary feature. I’m just glad that Nothing, a brand that clearly has enthusiasts ready to throw their wallets at, is pushing the boundaries of what a transparent design can entail.

Besides the physical design of Phone (1)’s back cover, little has been revealed in regard to the handset’s specs, features, and price. Based on earlier keynotes and drip-fed news, the Phone (1) will officially be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, support wireless charging (as seen by the charging coil in the design), field two cameras at the rear, and run on Nothing OS over Android. More to come as we near the upcoming Nothing event, slated for July 12.

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