Nothing’s Carl Pei Wants to Start a Smartphone Revolution (Again)

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If the brand new OS could make this rules-based interplay between gadgets palatable for the common individual, Nothing could possibly be onto one thing. One assertion Pei provided throughout our chat appeared to land on this concept too, regardless of nothing within the firm’s announcement instantly relating to this facet of the tech.

“On the consumer internet side, these companies have become evil in our minds thanks to privacy issues, anti-competitive issues, and whatnot. So overall, people are not inspired by the technology and we want to be the catalyst to change that again,” Pei says. 

Third-Party Party

However, if that is to be the as-yet-unannounced bedrock of the Nothing Phone 1’s attraction in an ultra-crowded market, it wants to work with a lot of various gadgets on day one. 

“We want to partner up with the leading brands of the world and help them create products, and, in the process, connect them to Nothing’s ecosystem,” says Pei. “We’re also building support for third-party products that we believe our users might need, like the AirPods Pro or a Tesla, so then they’re able to control parts of the Tesla through Nothing OS.”

At face worth this appears, as soon as once more, somewhat bold. Even if the Nothing Phone 1 is a nice success, its market share can be tiny. It isn’t straightforward to think about many third-party firms ready or prepared to justify creating or optimizing bespoke options for the telephone. 

Until Nothing turns into established, virtually all of the work for this could doubtless relaxation on Nothing’s facet. Such efforts would sometimes be unimaginable for a startup launching a telephone. Pei has a solution for that too.

“There are two schools to making products. One school is having a very small team in-house while outsourcing most of the work to factories—‘hey, I want this, I want that.’ There’s another school, which is like Apple, where you have overqualified engineers and you have tons of them. And you do everything yourself, and the factory just executes your orders. They just do execution, the legwork. I’m in the latter school,” Pei says. “We’re not a 20-person team, like other startups trying to make smartphones. We are almost a 300-person team.”

This method can be why Nothing has to be hungry for capital. With $144 million raised, it sits second solely to smart-ring maker Oura because the best-funded venture-capital-backed {hardware} maker, and Oura has made a vital mark within the wearables house. 

Nothing has additionally introduced a second wave of neighborhood funding “alternatives.” In February 2021, it raised $1.5 million from on a regular basis people utilizing the Crowdcube platform (in simply 54 seconds), reportedly attracting 481 buyers. 

“Companies and consumers are becoming closer and closer. I think, in the future, that distinction might even disappear,” says Pei, in yet another bold, media-honed statement. This time around Nothing is opening up $10 million of investment to the public, although the mechanics of this have not been revealed. Let’s hope it’s not NFTs. 

The cash is flowing, and Nothing says it has 140 “ongoing negotiations with sales partners across the world.” Pei will not be drawn on whether these include mobile carriers, but he will say Nothing has established a “small team in LA for special projects.” While Nothing’s workforce is largely split across London, Stockholm, and Shenzhen, China, it may also have an eye on the US market.

As for the Phone 1, Pei will be hoping to repeat the tried and tested OnePlus starting formula of high-spec, mid-tier good design that brought him and Pete Lau such renown. And, if he can pull it off once again, he would do well not to forget that magic recipe, unlike OnePlus

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