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This article was published on March 10, 2021


Nothing’s first product? A whole lot of design bullshit

Why haven't other manufacturers made products that look nice, are light, and easy-to-use?

Nothing’s first product? A whole lot of design bullshit
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

In case you missed it, Nothing announced its first product. You may be thinking that it’s the true wireless earbud in the header image, but you’d be wrong: Nothing’s first product is a whole load of design bullshit.

Nothing is the new company from Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus. So far, details about exactly what the company is up to have been sparse. We know it’ll focus on gadgets, we know it owns the Essential smartphone brand, and we know it’s set to release a pair of true wireless earbuds later this year.

But apart from that? Not much.

Now, you’d be excused for thinking that the below picture is of Nothing’s first product, the aforementioned true wireless earbuds…

…but you’d be incorrect. How could you?

Instead, the picture is merely something called the Concept 1, “a first expression of [Nothing’s] design principles.” In other words, this is an image of something that doesn’t actually exist and you’ll never have a chance to use. Oh joy of joys.

Truly doubling down on the idea that Nothing’s first product should be some design bullshit, we were also given three principles that both the Concept 1 and future products will embody: [weightlessness], [effortlessness], and [timelessness].

I’ve got to be honest, this exploded my tiny little mind into a billion fragments of wonderment. I’m still shaking. Why haven’t other companies tried making products that look good, are light, and easy-to-use?? Right now, I bet Tim Cook is slapping himself raw.

Let’s try and bring some balance in. I’m genuinely excited to see what Nothing will do, but this approach is a bulging bag of bollocks.

Basically, there’s no need for the Concept 1. The real thing will arrive in a few months and what have we learned from it? That the earbuds will be transparent? They’ll look like earbuds? They’ll have the company’s name on them?

Still, we have learnt something: Nothing’s first product is design bullshit. This is what we got in place of any real announcement.

But, at the end of the day, we wrote about it. So who are the real suckers?

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