Carl Pei suggests a supply chain challenge on the first anniversary of Nothing

Nothing Ear 1 review
(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

When Carl Pei bid adieu to the OnePlus brand that he had co-founded with Peter Liu, the world sat up and took notice. When Nothing became a reality in October 2020, the consumer tech world was excited. And their first product - Nothing TWS - arrived in July and went on sale in India a month later to prove that Carl Pei meant business.

Late last week, the tech entrepreneur took to his blog post to congratulate his team for a year's hard work with a warning that things could get sticky. While crediting his team for managing deliveries during the global lockdown, Carl Pei accused a major incumbent of blocking the company's access to the supply chain.

"I’m proud we did all this in the midst of a pandemic with large parts of the team unable to collaborate in person, and in the midst of global supply chain disruptions. To add to the fun, we’ve also had a major incumbent attacking us in the supply chain trying to block our access to key components. We should take that as a sign of respect," Carl Pei said in the blog post

Nothing's new launches

The statement comes at a time when Nothing is reportedly preparing for the launch of its first smartphone, an event that the entire consumer tech industry was eagerly waiting for ever since Carl Pei quit OnePlus. A report in 91mobiles quoted leaker Mukul Sharma to indicate the possible launch of the Nothing phone early in 2022. 

The company had also announced a strategic partnership with Qualcomm recently though information about both of these were thin. All that we can say is that their new phone would be powered by Qualcomm, largely on the lines of what OnePlus had ever since they arrived on the scene. 

The same leak also suggested the launch of a power bank from Nothing, though details were once again scarce. However, the source was confident that the portable charger could hit the markets before the New Year. 

A happening first year

Given these elaborate expansion plans, the statement from Carl Pei assumes some significance. Nothing had also picked up the remains of a business that was behind the Essential Phone earlier this year. 

In the blog post, Carl Pei gave details of the feedback that the Nothing TWS received and shared some delivery numbers. He said the company had received 320K orders of which 180K had been shipped with the supply chain continuing to catch up with the expected demand of 600K pieces. 

"For context, the first iPod did around 400K," said the official drawing a parallel of his brand with that of the iconic ear-pods launched by Apple in September of 2016.  He went on to add that his 158-member team had created the brand, launched its first product and managed to raise $74 million in investments over 12 months. 

Of course, Carl Pei did not give details about the major incumbent who was seeking to cut Nothing off from the supply chain. However, the fact remains that the CEO of a tech company openly suggesting sabotage is definitely unusual as the consumer tech industry seldom voices such concerns openly.  

Raj Narayan

A media veteran who turned a gadget lover fairly recently. An early adopter of Apple products, Raj has an insatiable curiosity for facts and figures which he puts to use in research. He engages in active sport and retreats to his farm during his spare time.