The Chinese smartphone market is highly competitive, with BBK, through its subsidiaries like Oppo and Vivo, holding a significant share. Electric car manufacturer Nio has entered this crowded space with a phone called the Nio Phone, signaling a shift towards high-end smartphones amid its struggles in the competitive Chinese EV industry.
What’s noteworthy is the phone’s design. The rear panel bears a striking resemblance to the forgotten Google Pixel 2, especially in the combination of lighter and darker tones for the camera area and the rest of the back panel. The curved display, reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, adds to its unique design.
Nio introduced the phone at a conventional launch event in Shanghai, highlighting its numerous features. This smartphone is specifically tailored for Nio EV owners, offering impressive connected features like the ability to remotely park the car in a chosen spot. An action button on the device allows users to instantly access 30 car-related functions. With ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, it can cleverly lock or unlock the car based on the proximity to the smartphone. Notably, the Nio Phone can unlock the paired EV even when its battery is completely depleted, according to the company. CEO William Li suggested that this move might inspire other Chinese manufacturers to follow suit, though some speculate that the primary motive might be data collection rather than profit.
While the Nio Phone shares some design elements with past flagship smartphones, its hardware is tailored for the 2023 market. It boasts a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC and a 6.81-inch curved OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, aligning with modern flagship standards. The rear camera setup includes a 50MP primary sensor with OIS, a 50MP periscope telephoto camera (also with OIS), and a 50MP ultrawide lens, accompanied by a circular LED flash module.
In China, consumers can choose from three storage and RAM variants: 512GB/12GB, 1TB/12GB, and a high-end model with 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM, as listed on the phone’s landing page. It packs a 5,200mAh battery with 66W fast wired charging and 50W wireless charging. It even supports reverse charging at 10W to charge other devices.
The Nio Phone runs an undisclosed version of Android with Nio’s custom software overlay called SkyUI. Pricing starts at 6,499 CNY (~$890) for the Performance Edition, 6,899 CNY (~$945) for the mid-tier Signature Edition, and 7,499 CNY (~$1,030) for the high-end Expedition Edition, available exclusively to Nio EV owners.