Nothing, the unassuming tech company set up by former OnePlus chief Carl Pei, has set a date for the big reveal of its mysterious first product. The Nothing ear (1) will be – as the name suggests – a set of earbuds, though the company claims that there’ll be more to them than just a way to listen to music.
Pei’s plan to start relatively small and build-up has been in the works for a while, now. The Nothing founder revealed wireless accessory plans back in February, and since then has been piecing together a far more interesting set of components – including the patents held by defunct smartphone-maker Essential.
After that came an unexpected partnership, with Nothing inking a deal with Teenage Engineering. Maker of oddball synths and general musical instrument weirdness, it was a hint not only at how Pei & Co. were thinking differently to other accessory companies but also to the desired Nothing aesthetic. That turned out to be prescient, when the company revealed its first wireless earbud concepts in March.
Dubbed, simply, Nothing concept 1, the earbuds are refreshing in their honesty. Transparent casings, a focus on cutting weight and trimming excessive branding and visual ornamentation, and a desire to avoid fashion leading form. The earbud design “takes inspiration from a grandmother’s tobacco pipe,” Pei suggested, and epitomizes Nothing’s goal of “shapes that look natural and warm, yet don’t easily feel outdated.”
Of course, there’s a long path from a pretty concept to an actual product, and now we know when we’ll see that revealed. Nothing will unveil Nothing ear (1) on Tuesday, July 27, the company has announced today, at 2pm BST (9am EST / 6am PST).
According to Nothing, “our true wireless earbuds combine raw beauty and precise engineering for a pure sound experience.” The company will also be explaining a little more about how it sees its products blending into users’ daily lives, “to remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future.”
As always, there are big promises for any new device, but some table-stakes Nothing will have to contend with. The wireless earbud segment is fiercely competitive at the moment, with aggressively affordable models from familiar names like the Google Pixel Buds A-Series at one end, to high-end active noise canceling models such as Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s new WF-1000XM4 at the other.
If Nothing hopes to carve out a space of its own, it’ll need to demonstrate how Nothing ear (1) not only distinguishes itself from the rest, but how the company itself hopes to remain a player in a fairly relentless category. We’ll get the first signs of how possible that is in late July.