Apple's iPhone builder flat-out refused to make the Nothing Phone (1)

Nothing Phone 1
(Image credit: Nothing)

Apple's iPhone assembler Foxconn reportedly flat-out refused to get involved with helping Nothing build its first phone, despite similar companies having used the phone maker in the past.

Nothing's Carl Pei says that Foxconn didn't want to get involved, saying that past failures put it off, giving his company a chance. Pei also says that Nothing plans to launch a phone in the United States, possibly going up against Apple's high-end iPhones.

Nothing to see here

Pei, co-founder of Chinese phone company OnePlus and now leading Nothing, says that Foxconn was worried about a previous track record of working with startups.

"Every startup manufacturer has worked with Foxconn," Pei told CNBC. "But when it was our turn, they said no because every startup that worked with them failed. And every time a startup failed, Foxconn lost money on it, they were not able to recoup their costs."

There's no suggestion that Apple had any say in this, with the Nothing Phone (1) only competing with the iPhone SE — and even then, only in some markets. But that could be about to change, with Pei saying that his company is now ready to enter the U.S. market.

"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. "We felt that we weren't ready before."

Foxconn might not be the company that builds that or other Nothing phones — they're all made in India — but more competition for Apple's iPhone is always a good thing for consumers. Whether it will be able to compete with Apple's best iPhones is another matter, but time will surely tell.

However, the iPhone isn't the only product that Nothing is competing with. The Nothing Ear (1) earbuds compete with AirPods, with NBC reporting that 600,000 have been sold.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.