Carl Pei’s Nothing acquires now-defunct Essential

Carl Pei
(Image credit: Carl Pei)

Carl Pei’s new hardware startup known as Nothing has been making headlines over the last few weeks. All Pei did during the first few weeks of revealing the brand was to announce funding by Google Ventures but there was little else. 

Now, we are hearing reports that the company has acquired the rights to a defunct brand called Essential, which incidentally is owned by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android and founder of the said brand. A report published on 9to5Google claims the process started way back in November 2020 and was completed last month. 

It may be recalled that Nothing did announce that it aims to start its journey by launching audio wearables and smart home devices and will probably launch a pair of earbuds as its first product. 

What remains to be seen going forward is how the defunct Essential would provide the thrust to Nothing's plans. Of course, there is always an air of suspense around everything that Carl Pei does, a legacy related to his OnePlus roots. 

We will have to wait and see whether this acquisition of nothing (given that the brand is defunct) is yet another of Pei's smart moves that usually leaves the industry in some wonderment. 


(Image credit: Essential)

Essential which only launched one smartphone but teased quite a few other products like it’s second smartphone PH-2, a smart home hub & speaker and a phone with a crazily narrow form factor before being abruptly shut down. During its brief lifetime, Essential also acquired and later sold Newton, the smart clutter-free mailbox.

Snap to the current, while Nothing now owns all the trademark and logos Essential, it is  it's not clear if the patents owned by Essential will get transferred as well.

Pei had earlier revealed that Nothing will launch its first smart products in the first half of this year and hence the Essential-acquisition can be merely seen as a shot in the arm allowing Nothing an access to the numerous patents relating to “Voice setup instructions” and “voice-enabled home setup” that Essential owns.

That said, now that Nothing has access to Essential it may also launch smartphones, in case it plans in future, and compete directly with the likes of OnePlus, the company Pei co-founded. After all, Essential was also known to offer affordable flagship phones running on near-stock Android experience.

Nothing is expected to make a formal announcement of this acquisition later today.

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Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.