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Nothing Phone 1 Is Headed to US, but Only for Android 13 Testing Program

The phone won't reach American store shelves just yet, but consumers will still be able to try it out.

Nothing Phone 1 being held with LEDs turned on
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Nothing Phone 1 launched earlier this year as an affordable iPhone SE-rivaling 5G device with an eye-catching LED design, but it was available only in Europe and the UK. Now the phone is coming to the US, though as part of an internal testing program, so don't expect it to grace store shelves just yet.

Nothing will be "launching a US specific program for users to get a Phone (1) and to be part of the Android 13 Beta," company co-founder and head of marketing Akis Evangelidis said. Customers who have imported the device on their own have been getting regular software updates and will be able to participate in the beta as well.

The Nothing Phone 1 will arrive on American shores as a "testing program" for the Nothing OS 1.5 Beta, the company's custom version of Android 13, CEO Carl Pei tweeted. Nothing hasn't detailed how people will be able to request a phone or whether they can purchase or retain it beyond the beta test.  

Despite launching the phone outside America, Pei, who co-founded OnePlus before leaving to helm Nothing, had repeated his interest in bringing the phone to the US market. Nothing had been in early conversations with US carriers to launch the Nothing Phone 1 in the states, but the company needed more time and technical support to configure the software tweaks carriers required, Pei told CNBC earlier this month. These early talks could lead to a future device launching in the US, he said.

It's unclear if this testing phase will be tied to those carrier negotiations.