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Here's Carl Pei showing a Nothing smartphone prototype to Qualcomm's CEO

This backs up an earlier rumor that Pei was showing off a prototype model to executives at Mobile World Congress.
By
March 7, 2022
TL;DR
  • A leaked image purportedly shows Carl Pei showing off a prototype of a Nothing smartphone.
  • The photo appears to have been taken at Mobile World Congress. Qualcomm’s CEO is also there.
  • This is more evidence that a Qualcomm-powered smartphone from Nothing could be on the way.

At Mobile World Congress 2022, a rumor spread that Carl Pei — formally of OnePlus and now with his own company Nothing — was showing off a smartphone prototype. At the time, the only evidence for the rumor was a tip from someone who claimed to see it.

Now, we have a leaked photo that appears to show Pei and the Nothing smartphone prototype. Thanks to Evan Blass on Twitter, we’ve mirrored the photo below.

Further reading: We talk with Carl Pei about Nothing

Interestingly, the photo appears to have been taken at Qualcomm’s MWC booth. Qualcomm’s CEO, Cristiano Amon, is in the picture as well, clearly looking at the phone in Pei’s hands. Theoretically, this could have been a meeting between Pei and Amon to show off Nothing’s progress with its phone. Obviously, if that’s true, the phone would likely be powered by a Qualcomm chipset.

Check out the photo for yourself below.

Nothing smartphone prototype

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get a good look at the phone in this photo. It’s clear that Pei is holding a phone, but we can’t see any defining characteristics, such as a camera module.

Even if we could, the phone is undoubtedly a prototype. Anything we could see in a photo such as this wouldn’t necessarily make it to the retail device.

See also: The best Android phones to spend your money on

Regardless, this is incredibly strong evidence that Nothing has a smartphone on the way. Android Authority had the chance to attend a roundtable discussion with Pei at MWC 2022, at which he refused to talk about any new Nothing products. However, he did say that the company’s ambition is to create a tech ecosystem inspired by Apple’s. When you consider the iPhone as the centerpiece of Apple’s product line, it only makes sense to think a Nothing phone is on the way.

The big question is: when? With Pei apparently showing off this prototype, it likely wouldn’t be until the end of 2022 at the earliest. A 2023 launch would probably be a safer bet.