Why it matters: Nothing—the company created by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei—says that its first product, a pair of truly wireless earbuds called Ear 1, will launch this June. In what seems an unusual move for a company, Nothing is downplaying the buds’ ability to live up to its vision.
Nothing first revealed a concept of its audio product back in March. The buds, designed in collaboration with Stockholm-based Teenage Engineering, feature a semi-transparent outer case that shows off their inner workings.
Nothing’s name stems from a philosophy of wanting to strip back technology to its essentials so users barely notice it’s there. Pei describes this as “no screens, no dedicated devices, just barely noticeable technology that empowers us to be more human.” But the CEO warns that the earbuds won’t meet that standard.
“Our mission is to remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future that looks, lives, and feels like nothing,” Pei wrote. “For those hoping for a disappearing act overnight, Ear 1 falls short.”
While the launch of the Nothing Ear 1 is still a month away, Pei suggests the successor, doubtlessly called the Nothing Ear 2—”can you guess what the sequel will be called? Good. Us too,” he writes— will be closer to the company’s goal.
“The greatest visions are not realized with the flip of a switch, but instead through countless small successes. Ear 1 is just the start.”
Nothing says it will be releasing an entire “ecosystem” of products, so why start in the hyper-competitive world of earbuds? “We believe the earphones market was begging for differentiation, a space where we can elevate design and deliver value from day one,” Pei explained. “Additionally, as an area of hyper growth, the earphones market will provide a fertile backdrop as we strengthen our capabilities and prepare to enter new product categories.”
There’s still no word on the Nothing Ear 1’s specs or price, so we don’t know how the buds will stack up against the best from Apple, Samsung, and Sony.