Founder and CEO Carl Pei said earlier this month: “We’re near the finish line and there are a few things left to finalize. For this reason, @Nothing ear (1) will now come out a bit later this summer.”
The new launch date for wireless earbuds designed by Teenage Engineering: July 27 at 14:00 p.m. CEST (8 a.m. ET).
Nothing sent along the below invitation with the Ear 1 — officially stylized as “ear (1)” with the teaser “Sound of Change” stamped above a few profiles of ears.
Before the launch delay, Nothing had sent me an acrylic block invitation with a sound wave embedded inside. The 1 of 50 acrylic block serves as a nice paperweight; on the top is a QR code to Nothing’s launch website.
What does the sound wave mean? What cryptic message is it hiding in plain sight? Scanning the QR code brings you to this website with the message: Nothing ear (1) coming 27 July.
Clicking on the “Find Out More” button, you’re brought to a countdown that says: “Nothing ear (1) is the first step in our journey; combining raw beauty and precise engineering for a pure sound experience.”
A crowded space — Nothing’s Ear 1 has a lot to prove; the wireless earbuds space is incredibly crowded. I literally review a new pair every month. The latest ones such as Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and the Master & Dynamic MW08 up the ante on active noise-cancellation and battery life, respectively. Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 is delivering on affordability. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro are not too shabby, too. And, of course, AirPods Pro continues to be irresistible for iOS users due to exclusive features like spatial audio.
How will the Ear 1 differentiate itself in such as saturated product category? Tapping Swedish consumer tech company Teenage Engineering for eye-catching earbuds with transparent aesthetics is one way. I’m also really hoping Pei and Nothing have put some thought into making the software special; wireless earbuds are a dime a dozen, but it’s the software and connectivity that’s usually the secret sauce (just look at AirPods).
How much will Ear 1 cost? — Nothing hasn’t announced pricing. I’m going to bet they will come with a premium price tag. The combination of custom-designed components and materials coming from Teenage Engineering are possible clues that these won’t be budget wireless earbuds. I suspect they’ll cost as much as AirPods Pro or more.