Nothing and StockX will auction the first 100 Ear (1) ANC earbuds

Tech startup Nothing plans to launch its Ear (1) earbuds on StockX first, with the first 100 units of the wireless 'buds tapping the retailer's DropX system. The first sales will begin on July 19, 2021, with the initial 100 sets of earbuds individually numbered.

It's the first time a consumer technology product has debuted on DropX, which you can think of as eBay but for high-profile and limited-edition items. The auction will run for two days, StockX explains, from 9am EDT on July 19th; bids will be accepted until July 21, at 8:59am EDT.

"After the DropX auction window closes," StockX says, "the 100 highest Bids will win the ear (1) at their respective Bid price and each unit will be engraved with the numbers 1-100, in order of their final sale price." Only winning bids will be charged.

It's unclear just how much these earbuds will actually go for, and how much relative exclusivity is worth. After all, one of the priorities that Nothing's founded Carl Pei – formerly of OnePlus – has repeatedly talked about for the new company is affordability. The Ear (1) earbuds will be priced at $99 when they go on general sale.

Final specifications have not been confirmed yet. However, Pei has said that Nothing is aiming to take on Apple's AirPods Pro and other high-end earbuds with active noise cancellation, despite the comparatively low price tag. There's also the promise of distinctive design, with a transparent casing that apparently presented Nothing's designers with a not-insignificant challenge when it came to figuring out the layout of the internal components.

Nothing is still yet to show the fully-revealed earbuds. A concept version previewed earlier in the year did drop some heavy hints, with Pei saying at the time that the design was meant to be inspired by a traditional pipe. New images shared today show what looks to be a portion of the charging case for the buds, complete with the "Edition (1/100)" text printed inside.

The wireless earbud space is getting crowded right now, though Nothing says it has more in the pipeline than just personal audio tech. The company has three products in development, Pei has teased, though the founder hasn't given any other indication about what they might be – or if a smartphone is among them.