Search results for

All search results
Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

4 lessons the Nothing Phone 2 should learn from early OnePlus

From marketing tactics to carrier partnerships, here's how Nothing can learn from OnePlus' formative years.

Published onMay 27, 2023

Nothing phone white in hand showing back
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Nothing has only been around for a couple of years, but the company founded by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has already made a splash. The Nothing Phone 1 may have been the brand’s first phone, but it still stood out from the pack thanks to its distinctive design and well-rounded set of features.

We know the Nothing Phone 2 is coming, but Pei and the team only need to look back at the early days of OnePlus for a few lessons on what not to do with a sophomore release.

Get that carrier deal sooner rather than later

Living in South Africa, I didn’t expect the Nothing Phone 1 to be available on contract via one of the region’s biggest networks thanks to a distribution deal. But yep, I can actually visit Vodacom’s website and buy one. As for customers in the US? Well, you’re out of luck.

Nothing needs a carrier deal for the Phone 2 if it wants to make a good first impression in the US.

Conventional wisdom says any phone brand wanting to succeed in the US needs a carrier deal, and that still holds true today for the most part. It almost goes without saying then that the Nothing Phone 2 needs a US carrier tie-up if the company wants the handset to gain any sort of local traction. It took OnePlus until 2018’s OnePlus 6T for the company to announce a deal with T-Mobile. So I hope Nothing doesn’t wait until the Nothing Phone 5 for a network partnership. But the company has previously noted that it now has the resources for carrier certification, perhaps hinting at Phone 2 plans.

Software polish (and ownership!)

nothing phone 1 in hand with display on
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

One thing that the Nothing Phone 1 and some early OnePlus phones (and even some more recent ones after the OxygenOS-Color OS code share) had in common was glitchy software. Fortunately, Nothing did a great job of squashing these bugs down the line. But the brand needs to learn a lesson from these phones and deliver polished software from the get-go.

OnePlus’s formative years were also marked by software squabbles, as the company initially used the CyanogenMod custom ROM. Unfortunately, CyanogenMod management made abrupt changes to licensing that forced OnePlus to create its own software. By all accounts, Nothing also outsourced its software development for the Phone 2, but the good news is that the company has its own software team right now. In fact, up to 70% of employees are former OnePlus staffers. So it doesn’t seem like software licensing woes will be an issue for the Nothing Phone 2.

No silly marketing campaigns, please

The early days of OnePlus were marred by some of the silliest smartphone marketing stunts in the industry. For one, there was the disastrous Smash The Past campaign which called on people to smash their phones in order to buy a OnePlus One for $1. There was also the Ladies First campaign, which urged women to take a photo of themselves with the logo shown in the snap. The 50 most-liked women would then get an invite to buy the phone. Seriously. I’m not surprised the company backtracked shortly thereafter.

Nothing doesn't need to resort to desperate marketing stunts for the Phone 2.

I’m fine with more conventional marketing campaigns for the Nothing Phone 2 instead of these silly stunts. Will Pei and the team resist the urge, though? Well, he was the face of the OnePlus Nord launch in 2020 and that was probably the most exhaustively overhyped smartphone launch I’ve covered in the last five years. I really don’t think we need multiple rounds of pre-orders, a four-part documentary series, five Instagram posts to confirm optical image stabilization (OIS), and selling cardboard to users so they can see the phone in augmented reality.

Don’t offer less for more

OnePlus logo 2

The OnePlus 2 notably ditched NFC despite the OnePlus One offering this feature. It must be said that you got OIS, a little more RAM, and an alert slider, but it was still a disappointing move. And it ultimately came in at $30 more than the original phone ($329 versus $299).

History tells us that new and rising smartphone brands inevitably raise prices. I distinctly remember the days when HUAWEI offered the Ascend P6 and P7 at mid-range prices, only to see the P9 matching the iPhone 7 series. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nothing Phone 2 is more expensive, but a higher price can’t come at the expense of features.

Nothing needs to take heed of OnePlus’s past

nothing phone 1 rear on wood
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Much like the OnePlus One, the Nothing Phone 1 demonstrated that there was an appetite and audience for a different type of smartphone. But the OnePlus 2 and subsequent releases quickly brought OnePlus back down to Earth.

The follow-up can be much harder than the initial release, but Nothing can endure a softer if not cushy landing by taking notes from the early days of the “Flagship Killer” of old. Otherwise, the Nothing Phone 2 might be the company’s equivalent of the OnePlus 2, for better and worse.

Do you think the Nothing Phone 2 will be disappointing?

1148 votes
You might like