After sticking to markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, smartphone company Nothing may launch a future model in the US, founder Carl Pei told CNBC. He said that the Nothing Phone 1 isn't available stateside because the company wasn't ready to deal with the complexities of the market. "Now we are in discussions with some carriers in the US to potentially launch a future product there," he said.
As co-founder of OnePlus, Pei is well-acquainted with the US market. And Nothing does sell its Ear Stick wireless buds in the US, which makes up a third of that product's sales. "It’s definitely a market where there’s already a lot of interest for our products. And if we launch our smartphones there, I’m sure we could obtain significant growth," he said.
However, the different US carrier bands and other issues make launching a new device complicated for a startup. "The reason why we didn’t launch in the US is because you need a lot of additional technical support, to support all the carriers and their unique customizations that they need to make on top of Android," Pei said. "We felt that we weren’t ready before."
The Nothing phone 1 has a unique, light-up transparent back, and is designed to compete in the mid-range against devices like Apple's iPhone SE. The company said it has sold 500,000 units since it launched in July, along with 600,000 of its wireless earbuds. It expects to see $250 million in revenue in 2022, over ten times what it made the year before.
However, Pei has previously said that the company has a "zero-percent margin" on the phones, due to issues like a strong US dollar and less-than-favorable terms from suppliers. "The goal is to be profitable in 2024," he said. "We are not profitable right now."