Nothing takes a page from OnePlus with an invite-only model for Phone 1 sales

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

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The Nothing Phone 1 has garnered a lot of attention for a phone that’s still not here, not least because of the company’s PR tactics to get everyone constantly talking about the phone. Now we’re starting to get close to launch, and some phone hardware has finally entered the picture, with reviewers like MKBHD getting to play with it, giving us another tease. However, if all this has you tempted to pick one up, be advised that getting your Nothing Phone 1 won’t be as easy as picking one off the shelf, as the company shares news of an invite-only system — at the beginning, at least.

Nothing’s got a new documentary-style video offering a look behind the scenes at the company. A little over 14 minutes in, founder Carl Pei gets to talk about the production and supply challenges new companies face when creating complex products like smartphones. According to him, Nothing could either wait to ramp up production before selling or start selling as soon as possible — it chose the latter, and for good reason.

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Time and time again, we’ve seen companies tease products only to fail to release them for months. And by the time they do, the hype has long died down, and there’s hardly any interest anymore — or worse, another manufacturer released a product that got people talking and, more importantly, spending.

Nothing plans to get its devices into consumers’ hands early, but because production is still on the low end, the company will be using an invite system to sell, while it speeds up production in the background. Currently, it’s looking to target early supporters, but a lot of work is still needed to refine the system.

This is far from the first time we’ve seen a phone launch with invite-only sales. OnePlus, co-founded by Carl Pei himself, used the same approach. That made it hard for people who really wanted the phone to get it, but it also allowed the company to ramp up production (and stay in the news for even longer, at the same time). While that ultimately worked out alright for OnePlus, it remains to be seen how nothing will fare.

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