Nothing Phone (1) triggers controversy in India, company clarifies

As Carl Pei-led consumer electronics company Nothing unveiled its first smartphone called ‘Phone (1)’ this week, several creators in the country, especially from the South, took to various social media platforms, posting their displeasure with the brand.

The South Indian tech YouTube community was particularly displeased as they did not receive the review units of the device that will be available in India from July 21.

The hashtag #DearNothing started trending on Twitter after a tech YouTuber, who goes by the username aPrasadtechintelugu’, posted a video on the day of the launch.

The video, meant to be a prank, showed a fake Nothing box, with a letter inside it saying, “Dear Prasad, this device is not for South Indian people.”

The video was likely shot to represent that the devices were not given to reviewers from South India.

“India is a united country but why these differences? South, North, East, West,” a Twitter user posted.

“#DearNothing, we need respect,” said another user.

The London-based company later clarified that the review units have been sent to regional creators and “the content creators in question were always a part of the roll out plan post launch”.

“For us, Content is bucketed across all media verticals like print, online, blogs, broadcast, (not just) Youtube to name a few, pan India. For Nothing Phone (1) we had a plan of sending devices which was supposed to be rolled out in a phased manner,” said Manu Sharma, Nothing’s General Manager for India.

“However, at this point — this is not about the review units. This is regarding the fake letter that was pulled out of a fake Nothing box without any disclaimer. This has been misunderstood by many as an official communication from us,” Sharma clarified on Twitter.

“As a new brand, our journey will be full of bouquets and brickbats. We know that. But misrepresentation and misleading claims is absolutely not acceptable,” he added.

Nothing Phone (1) will be available in India for a pre-order introductory price of Rs 31,999.The 6.55-inch device offers 50MP dual camera at the rear, a refined Nothing operating system (OS), 120Hz OLED display with HDR10+ and a custom-built Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset.

The sale of Nothing Phone (1) in India will start on Flipkart from 7 p.m. on July 21.




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