Nothing, the most exciting startup in consumer tech, has some big news to share today: Swedish tech brand Teenage Engineering of OP-1 synthesizer and Pocket Operator fame has signed on as founding partners.
Teenage Engineering's co-founder and CEO Jesper Kouthoofd and vice head of design Thomas Howard have been appointed as Nothing's creative lead and head of design, respectively.
The partnership adds to Nothing's growing roster of talent and investment, backed by Google Ventures and familiar faces like Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, and Product Hunt CEO Josh Buckley.
"I’m really excited to welcome teenage engineering to the growing Nothing family," Nothing CEO and co-founder Carl Pei said in a press release. "They consist of some of the best designers and creatives that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Together, we’ve created a product roadmap that’s unique and true to Nothing’s vision."
Kouthoofd also released a statement on the announcement. "When Carl first told me about Nothing’s vision I remember being super excited thinking about how this would be translated into the design identity of the products. After months of research and development, we are now in a place where I believe we will have something exciting to show to the world."
A very brief history — Nothing is the brainchild of Carl Pei, ex co-founder of OnePlus. Pei left the Chinese tech brand last September and in January announced his new startup Nothing. The tech company is focused on delivering its first smart devices in the first half of 2021. Nothing has teased its first product as being wireless headphones. Whether that's wireless earbuds or over-ear headphones like Surface Headphones 2 or AirPods Max is unclear. Perhaps both.
Nothing recently snapped up the leftovers of Andy Rubin's Essential. Created by Android founder Rubin after he left Google in 2014, Essential failed to catch on. Its first and only phone, the PH-1, was ahead of its time with early features like a titanium construction, magnetic accessory system, and thin bezels paired with a notch. But high pricing and poor management likely led to its shutdown three years later.
Last February, Essential announced it had "no clear path" to deliver products in development to customers. Prior to shutting down, the company had announced a smart speaker with a display and a new skinny phone codenamed Project Gem. Presumably, Nothing now owns Essentials portfolio of patents.
What to expect? — Nothing has not revealed any products yet. Not even a teaser pic. My sources tell me we'll see something very soon. In the meantime, let's look at some of Teenage Engineering and Essential's product designs to get a little inspiration.