OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei left OnePlus to co-found Nothing last year, and the company's first product is on the cusp of finally being revealed. Pei and co have used the OnePlus playbook to generate buzz prior to release, auctioning off the first 100 pairs this week to eager bidders. The Nothing ear (1) buds have been kept under wraps since they were first teased, but are set for launch next week.
Nothing has paired up with StockX for an exclusive pre-launch auction on its new platform, DropX – "a direct-to-consumer product release method designed by StockX to offer brands and creatives the opportunity to release new and exclusive products directly to their global audience."
The first 100 pairs are limited edition and will sport engraved numbering, ranging from 1 - 100, in order of the final sale price. With nothing but the case on show, the mystery has been maintained… Except someone on Twitter is claiming to have an image of the final product.
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The tactics used to hype up the product are very on-brand for Pei, to the point where people are bidding on earbuds that we don't yet have the actual specs for. We do know that the Nothing ear (1) will feature ANC delivered via three high-def mics. Despite the lack of details, the highest bid for a pair of the transparent earbuds so far is £572 (approx. $780/ AU$1,066) – that's over twice the price of the AirPods Pro.
The design has been concealed thus far, but the DropX (opens in new tab) listing shows off the transparent case that will house the earbuds. Boasting a square design with rounded corners, there's a white (potentially plastic) component that hides away the innards to keep it looking clean. A USB-C port sits on the side, next to what we assume is a sync button.
While the case in the official image is empty, Twitter user Ayush Verma (opens in new tab) has shared an image of the buds in the case. While we don't have confirmation that this is legitimate, the red and black dots line up with the artwork from the official Nothing website (opens in new tab).
Pei told TechCrunch (opens in new tab) that the decision to focus on "online sales channels" means the Nothing ear (1) buds will be able to offer "quite a fair price to consumers," adding that the transparent design is "a much more costly design to realize than a standard, non-transparent design". While we still haven't had the specs revealed in full, Pei says that "feature-wise, it’s similar to the AirPods Pro, but the AirPods Pro is $249.”
The auction wraps up tomorrow, so there's still time to bag a limited edition pair. If you'd rather not pay over the odds and don't mind waiting a week, the Nothing ear (1) are set to launch on July 27, 6AM PDT / 9AM EDT/ 2PM BST with a price tag of $99/ £99/ €99 (approx. AU$182).