The Nothing Phone’s version of Android is surprisingly good

If you’re excited about the Nothing Phone (1), we have great news: as promised in the phone’s teaser announcement, you can now download an early version of the device’s software to test and play with.

Well, when we say ‘you’, we specifically mean people with a Samsung Galaxy S21 or Samsung Galaxy S22 series phone, or the Google Pixel 5 or Pixel 6 – this is just an early beta user interface, with only a few features and tools.

We expect the Nothing Phone (1) to land sometime between June and September, but at an event with the silly name of The Truth, Nothing teased the device and also promised that it would launch the software soon – well, ‘soon’ is ‘now’ apparently.

What does the nothing launcher look like?

How to Install Nothing OS

1. Find the Nothing Launcher (beta) on the Google Play Store (or click here). Download it.
2. Go to your phone’s settings menu, then apps, then default apps, then default home apps.
3. Choose the Nothing Launcher and it will install automatically.

There are three key features that the Nothing Launcher brings to your phone, but we’re going to assume that this doesn’t represent the full feature set as it’s a bit limited. They’re built on what looks like stock Android.

First, there are three Nothing-themed widgets: the weather and two clocks (digital and analog). The digital clock and weather widget have an uneven retro look, while the analog clock is a bit more typical.

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Nothing OS on a Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar/Nothing)

Secondly, there’s a new Nothing wallpaper, and it’s… surely something? We thought our phone was broken when we first saw it, but no, that’s how it’s supposed to look. You can change the color if you want, but it only changes the color of the text.

Admittedly, these are two rather small features, and so is the third one, but it’s the one we really like. You can choose to make app and folder icons larger, so instead of taking up one space in the home menu grid, it will take up four.

This is very useful for easy access – you can easily snap your thumb on any part of the screen and be sure to press the app. We also think this is great for accessibility, for older people or people with physical disabilities who might struggle to press very small icons.

We love this feature and can already see our everyday phone feeling a little restrictive as it doesn’t have resizable icons.

Since the app is called Nothing Launcher (beta), we’re assuming this is the first version of the OS, and hopefully we’ll see new versions before Nothing Phone launches ( 1) with larger updates. But for a first impression, we are pleasantly surprised.

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