One of the most exciting Android phones of the year could be the Nothing Phone (1)

I have avoided the Nothing Phone (1) hype so far - nothing that has been announced so far makes me excited, and I am very wary of products for which the main selling point is the charisma of the influential figure behind them (see also: everything Musk has ever touched).

But a recent leak has piqued my interest in this upcoming Android phone. The phone will launch at a mid-range price - €500, to be precise (which converts to about $540, £430, AU$750).

In light of the pomp and ceremony already surrounding the Nothing Phone, I had expected it to be a high-end handset to rival the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 14. Despite not yet joining the hype train, I'm at least lining up to buy a ticket.

The mid-range phone market is where OnePlus gained popularity - that same OnePlus whose co-founder is now the president of Nothing - and it is how brands like Xiaomi and Oppo grew from 'fledgling Chinese phone companies' to 'global players'.

As a result of the competitive nature of the midrange market, both from the multitude of mobile phones and the equally-entertaining budget and premium sectors, these devices must be great. In order to compete in the league, companies must offer the highest specs at the lowest prices.

Mid-range phones are known for their fantastic cameras, while the Moto G200 and Poco F4 GT offer top-end performance on a budget.

It doesn't hurt that the mid-range market is more appealing to tech enthusiasts. When someone does not know their Snapdragons from their Dimensities, they are more likely to wander into a store and buy the first expensive Galaxy S or iPhone, or perhaps whichever budget Moto G or Nokia handset catches their eye.

People who like to pick over specs and features may be more interested in the nuances of different mid-range phones.

Ultimately, that is the market for the Nothing Phone (1): it is being sold based on the legacy of Carl Pei, Nothing's founder, with features that appeal to tech enthusiasts. The design of the device gives that away more than anything else: the back is see-through so you can see inside.

Despite the competitiveness of the mid-range phone market, I haven't been captivated by a midrange phone in some time now - partly because mobile trends diverge from what I like (where are the curved-edge phones? Why are there rarely any mid-range camera phones?) but partly due to another reason.

The makers of mid-range phones, such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, have abandoned the market in favor of the more profitable premium phone market. The mid-range market simply gets less attention, despite its potential to generate big gains.

That's why the leaked price of the Nothing Phone (1) interested me: it shows that Nothing is willing to step up and make a mid-priced phone instead of jumping straight into the premium market.

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