Tech startup Nothing is keeping up with Samsung in the Android 14 launch race.
In the past, Android phones were often criticized for their unreliable software updates compared to iPhones, which received longer support. However, the situation is evolving, with even the most recent Android phone manufacturers now ensuring swift upgrades to Android 14, Google’s latest smartphone software version.
This applies to Nothing, the tech startup founded by former OnePlus executive Carl Pei. The company has made Android 14 available for its Nothing Phone (2) smartphone through an open beta program, accessible to anyone using that phone right now. Beta software versions are downloadable by anyone, though it comes with a warning that some functionalities might not work correctly.
While the number of Nothing phones in the world is significantly fewer than Samsung Galaxy phones, it’s commendable to see Nothing keeping up with Samsung, which has also launched a beta for One UI 6, its customized Android 14 version. Currently, a full and finalized Android 14 version is only available for the new Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, as Google develops Android, ensuring its Pixel phones are the first to receive the latest version.
However, Samsung is typically not far behind in rolling out the latest updates. The dedicated team at Nothing appears to be prioritizing quick updates for their loyal fanbase this year as well. Android 14 on the Pixel 8 Pro introduces exciting new features like new fonts and widgets for the lock screen and always-on display, visual enhancements across the system, and even AI-generated wallpapers.
In addition to the Android 14 updates, Nothing has incorporated additional features that enhance the unique minimalist design of its Nothing OS software. This software is characterized by a color scheme primarily consisting of black and white, as well as a retro dot matrix font reminiscent of digital watches. The new additions include a photo widget, a feature that allows a screenshot to be captured with a three-finger swipe, and glass-effect filters for wallpapers.
Drawing inspiration from the iPhone 15 Pro’s customizable Action Button, Nothing is introducing the option to customize a double-press on the power button for quick access to a chosen action.
This could encompass various functions like initiating a call to a specific person, opening the camera, or enabling the “do not disturb” mode. However, it’s important to note that Nothing cautions that installing the beta version might lead to performance issues and even data loss, potentially requiring a factory reset. Therefore, users are advised to exercise caution when deciding to install it.
By HENRY BURRELL, Deputy Technology Editor, who specializes in covering the latest consumer tech news, including broadband, software, and gadget reviews to offer recommendations for the best purchases.