You might have heard plenty of buzz about a new brand called Nothing – but what exactly is it, and why has it attracted so much attention? This article explains what you need to know.
“What is nothing?” might sound like the sort of existential question that a lecturer would ask their class on the first day of a philosophy course.
However, Nothing also happens to be the brand name of a technology company that was founded in 2020 by Carl Pei. Based in London, this start-up has attracted many fans and investors for its future projects primarily based on faith in its founder, and its principles, which are described as follows on its website:
Imagine a world where all of your devices are seamlessly connected. Tech that just works. That you don’t have to think about. That feels like nothing.
In February of 2021, soon after its foundation, Nothing acquired the trademarks and brand of Essential Phone, which could give some clues as the direction this brand will head in. The Essential Phone was a remarkable device for a number of reasons, most especially its modular design which permitted attachable accessories, along with its trailblazing adoption of a screen “notch” to house a selfie camera.
As of March 2022, Nothing claims to have raised $144 million, and has announced partnerships with prestigious brands including Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm. However, the brand is still in its early stages of development, having released just one product, and announced one other.
Who is Carl Pei?
Carl Pei is the charismatic founder of the Nothing brand, and much of its appeal rests on his shoulders. In 2013, he co-founded OnePlus with his business partner Pete Lau, and this manufacturer soon became a cult favourite of many tech enthusiasts for its modestly-priced but high-performing smartphones that were at first only available by invitation.
There are a few notable similarities with the early business model of OnePlus and that of Nothing; both brands seem to follow a stripped-down, simplified aesthetic for design and software; and Nothing’s first product was similarly well-priced yet not widely available to buy at launch.
Since the early successes of OnePlus, it has become a much bigger global brand with a full range of smartphones from the budget OnePlus Nord 2 CE 5G, to the flagship OnePlus 10 Pro. Carl Pei resigned from his position as director OnePlus on 16 October 2020 and founded Nothing just weeks later, on 29 October of the same year.
What products has Nothing made?
The first product launched by the brand were the Nothing ear (1) true wireless headphones, which made their debut in July 2021. We highly praised these earbuds, which scored 4.5 stars out of five thanks to their good sound quality, distinctive design, comfort, and relatively affordable price of £99.
In March 2022 the brand announced that it would release a smartphone, named the Nothing phone (1), in the summer of this year. We still know very little about this device, with the specifications and design remaining a secret, but some images of the user interface have been shared, showing a minimalist interpretation of the Android operating system.