Nothing Essential: Is OnePlus Co-Founder Trying To Revive The Infamous Smartphone Brand?

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The co-founder and former CEO of OnePlus, Carl Pei is cooking up something interesting as his newly minted startup has dug up an old grave and might just be planning to revive an infamous smartphone brand!

Carl Pei’s new startup called ‘Nothing’ has recently acquired the branding rights of Andy Rubin’s Essential, thus hinting that the latter might just get a do-over at life! The news was brought to light by 9to5Google which found out that Rubin has transferred Essential’s trademarks and logos over to Pei’s new company on January 6th 2021.

That being said, while this whole incident definitely hints at the assumption that Pei is working on something interesting, it hasn’t yet been discovered what he plans to do with Essential’s logo and trademarks that his startup “Nothing” owns them now.

Speculations are making round that Carl will try to revive the defunct brand once again as he found a lot of potential in Essential smartphones – that, unfortunately, couldn’t live upto users’ expectations in the past.

Earlier this month, when the OnePlus co-founder shared details about his new startup Nothing wherein he mentioned that their first product will be a pair of wireless earphones after which more devices will follow in the later in 2021.

Pei told Bloomberg that his startup is working on building an entire ecosystem of smart devices but he wants to first start off with simpler products such as the wireless earbuds and eventually expand into other devices which can talk to each other.

Now, while his outspoken plans for Nothing doesn’t sync with the acquisition of Essential which suggests Pei might be planning to release a smartphone under the banner of Essential and revive the brand, it would still be interesting to observe what he has in store for the brand. All its failings aside, Rubin’s now dead smartphone brand had an extremely small but loyal fanbase that adored PH-1 – the only phone it released.

Shortly after the launch of PH-1, the Essential brand quickly got broiled into controversy as Rubin was blamed for not being completely transparent about why he left Google in 2014.

But, past incidents aside, even if Pei’s Nothing ends up holding on to the trademarks of Essential without putting them to use, Essential’s legacy lives on in several other ways. 

In the second half of the previous year, more than two dozen former employees of the now-defunct brand joined OSOM Products which is a startup founded by Jason Keats – Essential’s former head of research and development.

Keats, in the month of November 2020, announced plans to release a privacy-focused Android device later this year while in the meantime, Nothing has promised to share more details about their upcoming devices by the end of February.

All in all, along with unanswered questions, Pei’s acquisition of Essential’s brand rights has opened the door to many exciting possibilities. Prior to the downfall of  Essential, it had made plans to release a PH-2, PH-3 and an extra-slim smartphone with a new interface as well.

Will Pei pick up where Rubin left off or will Nothing revive the brand by giving it a complete makeover? Only the future can tell. Given Pei’s track record in the field of smartphones, one cannot help but be intrigued by his future prospects now that Essential has been brought back from the deathbed once again. We will keep you updated. Until then, stay tuned.


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