Carl Pei’s Nothing brand now owns Essential


(Cybertech) – Carl Pei’s new brand, Nothing, now owns Andy Rubin’s former company, Essential. The change of ownership was recorded at the beginning of 2021. 

Essential, if you remember, was a company whose ethos it was to release products without any unecessary distractions. The first Essential phone was really slim, built from Titanium and featured no camera humps or protrusions.

It also had extremely skinny bezels for a phone of its time, apart from the chin at the bottom of the screen. Its tiny selfie camera notch at the top was also a world away from most of the others on the market at the time. 

We already know that Nothing’s first product will be a pair of smart true-wireless earbuds. However, it’s not exactly clear what Nothing intends to do with Essential or why it decided Essential was worth owning. 

We do know that when Nothing was officially announced it proclaimed a similar ethos of building tech that vanished into the background and didn’t get in the way of daily life. 

Essential didn’t launch many products at all before it packed it in and shut down. In fact, the Essential Phone (PH-1) was the only product it launched. 

9to5Google, who first discovered the acquisition, points to an unreleased product called the Essential Home which – just like Google Home and Amazon Echo – was designed to be an attractive smart assistant for the home. It never released. 

Following sexual harassment allegations against Essential’s owner, former-Googler Andy Rubin, all hopes of a smartphone follow up were squashed too. The company had intended on launching a weird-looking skinny candybar smartphone called the PH-2. 

Nothing hasn’t said if it’s going to launch smartphones though. However, given Carl Pei’s experience at OnePlus it seems that it could be something it does at some point in the future even if it’s starting off small to begin with. 

We know Nothing intends to launch an ecosystem of devices eventually, so perhaps Essential still has some interesting product ideas in its development portfolio. Or perhaps it’s essentially nothing. Time will tell. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.


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