Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Nothing Phone 3 could be 2025’s most interesting smartphone

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A person holding the Nothing Phone 2a.Nothing Phone 2a Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Over the last few years, Nothing has proven that it can create compelling smartphones at excellent prices. Today, the company gave us our first tease of the Nothing Phone 3, and if it pans out the way Nothing claims, it could already be one of next year’s most interesting smartphones.

On X (formerly Twitter), Nothing CEO Carl Pei uploaded a five-minute video discussing the recent AI trend in consumer tech and, more importantly, how Nothing is thinking about AI. In short, the company’s next smartphone — the Nothing Phone 3 — could completely reinvent how we use and think about our phones.

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One way Nothing is going about this is with the “hub” — its AI-powered take on a smartphone home screen. The top of the hub has quick links/buttons to things like the weather, social media, your calendar, messages, etc. Below that is a smattering of “dynamic and context-aware” widgets. For example, it can automatically show a QR code for a boarding pass or concert ticket based on your calendar. Nothing says it wants the home screen to “move away from it just being a launcher for different apps and services” and to become a “hub of contextual, relevant information.”

Nothing’s AI-powered smartphone home screen Nothing

The other big AI tool Nothing is working on is its own AI voice assistant. Nothing says its AI assistant can transform into a “companion” that’s personalized for each person using it. Nothing further explains that the AI assistant could appear on the home screen, lock screen, or even through a future Nothing Phone’s Glyph lights.

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Nothing has only been developing these AI experiences over the last two months, so it will be a while before they’re ready for prime time. However, Pei confirms at the end of the video that Nothing will start rolling out these AI features with the Nothing Phone 3 in 2025.

Nothing’s AI assistant (with two white eyes) on its new home screen Nothing

It’s unclear if everything demonstrated here will be available exactly as Nothing has described, but it’s clear that Nothing is thinking of it quite highly. In an email sent to Digital Trends, Nothing confirmed, “Phone (3), launching next year, [marks] a milestone in Nothing’s consumer AI journey, featuring both software and hardware advancements.”

As someone who’s been burned on grand AI claims with gadgets like the Rabbit R1, I’m personally quite excited to see what Nothing is working on. Time and time again, it’s been proven that dedicated AI gadgets aren’t the way forward — at least not right now. Whether it’s the Rabbit R1 or the Humane AI Pin, that product category clearly isn’t working. AI on smartphones has a lot more potential, but whether it’s Samsung or Google, so many smartphone AI tools have been relegated to things like photo editing and language translation. Those things are helpful, but they’re far from the AI revolution we keep being promised.

There's been a lot of hype around AI. Some great, some confusing. It’s great to see new companies rethinking the user experience and form factors. However, there is no doubt that smartphones will remain the main consumer AI form factor for the foreseeable future. With over 4… pic.twitter.com/ERJc7xhwBa

— Carl Pei (@getpeid) June 5, 2024

Nothing’s vision sounds a lot more ambitious, and it very well may not come together like the company is imagining. But what it’s trying to do sounds way more interesting than the AI features we have on phones today, and I can’t help but get excited about that.

It’s annoying we’ll have to wait until some point in 2025 for the Nothing Phone 3 to see what all of this ends up looking like, but I’m crossing my fingers that it’s worth the wait.

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