Some smartphone brands have decided that it’s fun to slowly tease their upcoming devices over the course of many months, but the Nothing Phone (1) might be a case where that backfires. Even though the new Android phone isn’t expected to debut for several more weeks, a new tease has suggested it’ll be hard to buy in the US.
Nothing has listed its debut smartphone on DropX, which basically means you can bid on one of the first hundred models made – why you’d want to spend hard-earned money on a smartphone you’ve never even fully seen is beyond us (especially when the top bids right now are $1,500 in the US and £1,100 in the UK – way more than the phone will likely cost).
But hidden away in the terms and conditions is this line: “Nothing phone (1) is not fully supported in North America.” You mean the Nothing Phone (1) might not go on sale in the huge US mobile market? Oh, okay.
We’ve reached out to Nothing to clarify whether this means the phone won’t go on sale in the US at all, or simply that it won’t work on certain 5G spectrums like mmWave – but if the latter is the case, the disclaimer is incredibly poorly worded.
Nothing wouldn’t exactly be alone in avoiding the US as far as mobile makers go, as plenty of other Chinese brands including Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo don’t sell their devices there. But since Nothing was founded by OnePlus’ ex-co-founder, and given that OnePlus is one of the few Chinese phone success stories in the US, we assumed that the Phone (1) would be available stateside too (if only to rival OnePlus).
Nothing has provided a long list of carriers in different regions, with Optus, Telstra and Vodafone ranging the thing in Australia, and Three, EE, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone getting it in the UK, but there’s no mention of the US, again hinting that the upcoming Android phone won’t go on sale there.
So, if you’re based stateside, you might want to remove the Nothing Phone (1) from your wish-list.
Analysis: could this hurt the phone?
Generally speaking, there are fewer smartphone companies selling devices in the US, and so Nothing would have an easier job of winning market share if it could prove to Americans that its phone was worthy.
But if the phone doesn’t sell in the US, there are potential problems based around the device’s funding. Nothing has already gone through a few rounds of investments, getting money from businesses and keen fans in order to make the phone and the Nothing earbuds.
If excited US-based Nothing fans have invested money in a tech brand they believe in, only to discover that they won’t be able to buy the phone, they’ll likely end up pretty upset.
Plus, the disclaimer is hidden in small print, underneath the big graphic that shows you what price someone has bid for the phone… in US dollars. We can see people bidding for the phone, only to later realize it might not be supported in the US.
Hopefully, the disclaimer is just poorly worded, and the Nothing Phone (1) will go on sale in the US, either straight after launch or at some point later. Because if not, there might be some annoyed Nothing Phone (1) fans out there who’ll have to turn to our list of the best Android phones for an alternative.
This article originally appeared on techradar.com.