Published On: Wed, Jul 7th, 2021

Nothing owner Carl Pei on Ear (1) and building a hardware startup from scratch

On Jul 27, hardware builder Nothing will entrance a initial product, wireless earbuds dubbed Ear (1). Despite releasing roughly no discernible information about a product, a association has managed to beget estimable hum around a launch — generally for an entrance into a already-crowded wireless earbud market.

The hype, however, is genuine — and rather understandable. Nothing owner Carl Pei has a good lane record in a attention — he was only 24 when he co-founded OnePlus in 2013. The association has finished a shrewd pursuit capitalizing on heightened expectations, meting out information about a product like pieces in a puzzle.

We spoke to Pei forward of a arriving launch to get some discernment into Ear (1) and a story behind Nothing.

TC: we know there was a timing check with a launch. Was that associated to COVID-19 and supply sequence issues?

CP: Actually, it was due to a design. Maybe you’ve seen a judgment picture of this pure design. It turns out there’s a reason since there aren’t many pure consumer tech products out there. It’s really, unequivocally tough to make it high quality. You need to safeguard that all inside looks only as good as a outside. So that’s where a group has been iterating, [but] we substantially wouldn’t notice a differences between any iteration.

It could be removing a right magnets — as magnets are customarily designed to go inside of a product and not be seen by a consumer — to reckoning out a best form of gluing. You never have to solve that problem if we have a obscure product, though what kind of glue will keep a industrial pattern intact? we consider a categorical emanate has been removing a pattern ready. And we’re super, super close. Hopefully, it will be a product that people are unequivocally vehement about when we launch.

So, there were no vital supply sequence issues?

Not for this product category. With loyal wireless earbuds, we consider we’re flattering fine. No vital issues. we mean, we had a emanate that we started from 0 — so no group and no partners. But step by step, we finally got here.

That seems to indicate that you’re during slightest meditative forward toward a other products. Have we already started building them?

We have a lot of products in a pipeline. Earlier this year, we did a village crowdfunding turn where we allocated $1.5 million to a community. That got bought adult unequivocally quickly. But as partial of that appropriation round, we had a rug with some of a products in development. Our products are code-named as Pokémon, so there are a lot of Pokémon on that slip [Ed note: The Ear (1) was “Aipom.”]. We have mixed categories that we’re looking at, though we haven’t unequivocally announced what those are.

Why were earbuds a right initial step?

I consider this marketplace is unequivocally screaming for differentiation. If we demeanour during loyal wireless today, we consider after Apple came out with a AirPods, a whole marketplace kind of followed. Everybody wears opposite clothes. This is something we wear for a vast partial of a day. Why wouldn’t people wish opposite designs?

We’re operative with Teenage Engineering — they’re super, super clever designers. we consider loyal wireless is a place where we can unequivocally precedence that strength. Also, from a some-more receptive business perspective, wireless earbuds is a super-fast-growing product category. we consider we’re going to strech 300 million units shipped worldwide this year for this category. And your initial product difficulty should be one with good business potential.

“Screaming for differentiation” is an engaging approach to put it. When we demeanour during AirPods and a rest of a industry, are aesthetics what a marketplace essentially lacks? Is it facilities or is it utterly stylistic?

If we take a take a step behind and consider about it from a consumer perspective, we feel like, as a whole, consumer tech is quite, utterly boring. Kids used to wish to turn engineers and astronauts and all that. But if we demeanour during what kids wish to turn today, they wish to be TikTokers or YouTubers. Maybe it’s since record isn’t as moving as before. We talked to consumers, and they don’t caring as most as a integrate of years ago either. If we demeanour during what what brands are doing in their communication, it’s all about facilities and specs.

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