Nothing, a consumer technology business based in the UK, has its sights set on the American market with plans to compete with Apple’s iPhone.
Without naming any of the carriers, Carl Pei, co-founder of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus, told CNBC that his startup, a hardware company, is in preliminary discussions with American carriers about launching a new smartphone in the United States.
Nothing introduced Phone (1) in July, a mid-range device with specs, a price point, and a design that are comparable to Apple’s entry-level iPhone SE.
The company, which is backed by Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod, and Alphabet’s venture capital arm GV, has so far only introduced its smartphone in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; neither the United States nor Canada.
“The reason why we didn’t launch in the U.S. 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 explained in an interview with CNBC. “We felt that we weren’t ready before.”
“Now we are in discussions with some carriers in the U.S. to potentially launch a future product there,” said the Chinese-Swedish entrepreneur.
Smaller businesses find it challenging to compete because companies like Apple and Samsung already have established relationships with major U.S. carriers.
But according to Pei, the U.S. currently accounts for one-third of sales of the company’s recently introduced Ear (stick) headphones.