Look around in the tech news world right now, and you might see buzz forming around a company named “Nothing.” It doesn’t have any products yet, or even specific news about the products it might make. Thus far, Nothing has purchased an interesting company and released some design concepts. So what is Nothing, and is it Something to pay attention to? Let’s dig in.
Late last year, Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus, left the company under mysterious circumstances. It quickly became apparent he intended to start a new venture, but whether it would complete with an affordable flagship OnePlus wasn’t clear. Since then, he announced a new company dubbed “Nothing,” which shortly after that purchased Essential, a former Android phone company.
If you don’t remember Essential, that’s understandable. Andy Rubin, the “father of Android,” left Google to form his own company—Essential. The first Essential phone wasn’t all that inspiring and didn’t sell in waves. But Essential did show concepts for a new type of phone that we described as simply “wild.” Imagine your longest tv remote, but as a full touch-screen phone, and you’d be on the right track.
Alas, that wasn’t meant to be—Essential shut down. And recently, Nothing bought up the company brand, but it’s unclear if that buyout included patents and designs. Nothing followed that purchase with a new partnership with Teenage Engineering, a company perhaps best known for the OB/4, a rewindable radio and speaker system. The company will help Nothing designs its upcoming products.
And what is that Something that Nothing will make? Thus far, the closest confirmation comes from a statement Carl Pei made to Bloomberg:
We’re building an ecosystem of smart devices. We’ll start with simpler products, wireless earbuds. We’re going to have multiple products throughout the year, not just audio products, and eventually we want to build it so these devices talk to each other.
And that brings us to Nothing’s latest design concept, dubbed Concept 1. You can see the initial idea of wireless earbuds in the concept images, but they look distinctly different than anything else. The company says it drew inspiration from a “grandmother’s tobacco pipe.” Nothing says its designs will hinge on three principles: weightless, effortless, and timeless.
You can head to Nothing’s site to see all three described at length, but it’s high on…well concept, and short on detail. It’s too early to say that Nothing will truly be something life-changing. But it can’t hurt to keep an eye on the company as it does some very public soul searching over its future.