Carl Pei’s Nothing acquires Essential smartphone brand

Carl Pei, OnePlus’ former executive recently launched its new startup ‘Nothing.’ Although Pei shared little to nothing about its startup or the roadmap of its upcoming product lines during its debut, the former OnePlus co-founder has now acquired smartphone brand Essential.

For those unaware, Essential a smartphone brand was founded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin. The brand was among the first to introduce a pop-up selfie camera smartphone. It launched Essential PH1 back in 2017 that although didn’t work well, the company managed to get a valuation of over $1 billion before selling the product.

It isn’t clear as to what Pei’s new company plans to do with the Essential brand, however, 9to5Google notes that the new brand will likely get access to Essential’s existing trademarks, logo and other aspects. 9to5Google managed to obtain recent filings at the UK Intellectual property that reveal Andy Rubin ‘signing over’ the ownership of Essential brand to Pei’s Nothing Technologies Limited. As per the report, the acquisition was completed on January 6, with application filling made on November 11, 2020.

The acquisition doesn’t necessarily imply Nothing to dive into smartphone manufacturing right away, however, reports speculate that the brand might introduce a host of IoT products this year. Pei’s new brand is expected to launch an array of wireless earbuds as well and focus on smart home technology and integration. According to 9to5Google, Essential itself is said to have been working on its own Home smart hub and speaker that would run “Ambient OS.” The device was initially planned to launch in late 2017 but it never went beyond the planning phase. Perhaps the latest acquisition might help the defunct brand to revive its old smart hub blueprint.

Having said that, it’s still a mystery as to whether Pei’s new brand plans to release smartphone eventually, however, the company has promised that it will launch its first smart devices in the first half of this year. Notably, a team of former Essential employees that helped in designed the Essential PH-1 have formed OSOM privacy. The team aims to create a privacy-focused Android smartphone and release in early 2021. Whether the new Nothing brand takes an initiative in this regard that remains to be seen.

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