New phone that costs next-to-Nothing finally hits the mark

Challenger smartphone brand Nothing has spent years hyping itself as revolutionary, but its breakthrough strategy may well be to instead focus on price.

Scott Bicheno

July 10, 2024

2 Min Read
source: nothing

The Nothing CMF Phone 1 is the first substantial product of its CMF (Colour, Material, Finish) budget sub-brand. You can immediately buy one for as little as £180, which is less than half the price of the flagship Nothing phone launched a couple of years ago and is very cheap for a smartphone. If the reviews are anything to go by, Nothing seems to have finally nailed it.

As the CMF abbreviation indicates, Nothing is seeking to differentiate mainly though relatively superficial innovations of the phone case, rather than its core technology. For some reason it didn’t see fit to release a press release, apparently hoping instead for some nice social media virality as well as the presumed support of its ‘community’. Accordingly it instead released the clippable YouTube bulletin below, which saves the phone until last.

Nothing had originally promised a disruptive, modular approach to smartphone design, implying the ability to hot-swap all kinds of components. That ambition seems to have been scaled back somewhat, with the CMF Phone 1 offering just the ability to replace the back cover, on which there is a port for accessories such as a stand or a lanyard.

But all this gimmickry is very much secondary to the price point. £180 is almost impulse-purchase territory in a smartphone context. It has been enabled by core component trade-offs such as opting for a Mediatek chip (as, increasingly, are many other smartphone vendors) and a Micro SD card for storage, which all phones should have. Light Reading has also identified some shortcomings when it comes to connectivity in the US, so buyers should exercise some due diligence there.

Maybe that was the cunning plan all along – seed the market with promises of exotic, disruptive, and therefore presumably expensive, smartphone design, only to then surprise everyone with aggressively low price points. Nothing has so far lived up to its name with respect to smartphone market share, but the cheap-and-cheerful CMF Phone 1 could be set to change that.

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About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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