When in June? Nothing won’t say, but *checks calendar* June is next month! So really damn soon!
In typical Carl Pei-style, Nothing shared the philosophy behind the Ear 1 name without unveiling the product. All we got is another teaser image with some silhouettes. Are these the Ear 1 buds? A profile of the case? What the hell are these shapes?
“Mirroring the product’s stripped-down aesthetic, the name Ear 1 echoes our raw ambition — to let things be what they are,” Pei writes in a blog post. “We don’t try to dress it up with a fancy name. Nor do we want to sit around debating said names. We let Ear 1 speak for itself.”
Simple and direct. I like it.
“Can you guess what the sequel will be called?” Pei adds. “Good. Us too.”
There you go, confirmation for the Ear 2 (and Ear 3 and Ear 4, if the company makes it that far.)
Ripe for something new — I review a lot of wireless earbuds — because every tech company thinks it can do them better. But like all maturing product categories, the differences are becoming few and far between. We’re reaching an apex on features like sound quality, active noise cancellation, and battery life.
Pei and Nothing see an opportunity, especially with design. “We believe the earphones market was begging for differentiation, a space where we can elevate design and deliver value from day one. 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.”
Making technology invisible — In the blog post, Pei reiterated Nothing’s mission is to “remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future that looks, lives, and feels like nothing” and admits the Ear 1 “falls short” of this goal. The earbuds will be very visible in your ears. Or at least semi-visible if they’re transparent like the concept the company teased. Ear 1 is “just the start” he says.
Big-name investors — Nothing’s secret operation has attracted quite a few investors including GV (Google Ventures), which has thrown it $15 million. The startup has raised $22 million total with investments from investors including Steve Huffman, Josh Buckley, Liam Casey, Kevin Lin, Paddy Cosgrave, and YouTuber Casey Neistat.
Additionally, Nothing gave the community a chance to invest up to $1.5 million of Series A funding (same as GV’s funding valuation). “As part of this process, we’ll also be electing a community member to our board of directors, so that we’re always kept in check, and reminded of what users want,” Pei said. This almost reads as a lesson learned from his time helping scale OnePlus — a company so large now that it seems to have lost sight of feedback from the community.