Former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei on Wednesday announced the launch of his new venture called Nothing. The company describes itself as a “London-based consumer technology company” with $7 million raised so far. So far, high-profile investors like the iPod and iPhone inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Reddit chief operating officer Steve Huffman and even celebrated YouTube vlogger Casey Neistat have Pei’s back in his vision for Nothing.
— Nothing (@nothingtech) January 27, 2021
Although the company has not announced the products it would be releasing under its tech umbrella, the company founder Carl Pei confirmed that Nothing will launch its first “smart devices” in the first half of 2021.
Carl Pei’s statement on the launch although remained appropriately ambiguous, however, it did give a glimpse into the company’s vision of removing the barriers between humans and technology.
Here’s what Carl Pei had to say at the launch of Nothing, “It’s been a while since anything interesting happened in tech. It is time for a fresh breeze of change. Nothing’s mission is to remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future.”
Pei added, saying, “We believe that the best technology is beautiful, yet natural and intuitive to use. When sufficiently advanced, it should fade into the background and feel like nothing.”
So far it is unclear what products Nothing is planning on releasing. However, the former OnePlus founder had an interview with tech website The Verge where he confirmed that Nothing aims to build its own ecosystem and will be launching products across multiple tech categories.
Carl Pei in his interview said, “Right now… the team is being built, so we want to focus on simpler categories,” Pei says, “but as our team gains capabilities and skills we want to start moving up. The ultimate vision of having everything connected in a seamless way, that can only happen when you have multiple categories of products that are connected.”
He also took a dig at OnePlus and how the company’s smartphones have started resembling other smartphones from sister subsidiary Oppo. Pei said, “There’s a reason why a lot of products on the market look quite similar. It’s because they share a lot of the same components and the same building blocks”
Nothing aims to change this and give its users something completely new by using “custom” components in its products right from the get-go. This will be completely in contrast with OnePlus’ devices which have in the past couple of years garnered criticism for the design and hardware similarities they share with Oppo phones.
Tech journalist and YouTube sensation Marques Brownlee dissected this phenomenon in a recent video and highlighted how OnePlus and Oppo devices share similar designs and hardware. Today Oppo 5 and Oppo R11, Oneplus 6T and Oppo R17, OnePlus Nord and Oppo A53 share strikingly similar design and hardware components. Oppo and OnePlus also use similar fast-charge technologies with different names. OnePlus uses Dash Charge while Oppo uses the VOOC.
In his interview with The Verge, Pei claimed how his new company Nothing will not function in a similar fashion and how the company won’t “relabel somebody else’s products.”
Pei said, “[Nothing is] a completely independent company owned by our founding team and our investors,” says Pei, with its own R&D department. And despite using contract manufacturers to build its devices.”
He also told The Verge that initially, his new company will make most of its revenue by selling hardware in some form or other rather than software. “We haven’t spent too much time thinking about the software portion of it. It definitely needs to be a good user experience if you are to generate revenue from software.” However, Pei agreed that “healthy businesses” are a combination of both good hardware and good software.
Carl Pei exited out of OnePlus in October 2020 after giving 7 years to the company. During his reign as the company’s co-founder, Pei introduced several flagship killers year after year like the OnePlus, the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 5 and the underrated OnePlus X.