OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei leaves the company

He started his own venture, "Nothing" that will have products similar to "ambient smart devices"


2021-02-16 08:00 IST

9to5Google reports that former Android founder Andy Rubin signed over ownership of Essential to Carl Pei's Nothing Technologies Limited as of 6th January, 2021. Essential had plans for smart home devices, but it also hints that Nothing may eventually plan to compete in the smartphone market as well. We've updated the article below.

2021-01-28 09:30 IST

In a press release yesterday, Carl Pei revealed the name of his new venture: Nothing. It's a "London based consumer technology company" that plans to release "smart devices" by Q2 2021. At the moment there's no additional information about what the exact products will be. We've updated the article below.

2020-12-09 15:50 IST

Carl Pei spoke to WIRED UK and reveals some more information on what his plans are: an audio-focused company which has already received $7M Series-A funding. We've updated the article below.

2020-10-16 20:11 IST

Carl Pei made a short forum post saying goodbye. He hasn't given any concrete details about the departure, or about the new venture he might pursue, but outlines his journey at OnePlus.

2020-10-13 04:50 IST

TechCrunch now reports that Carl Pei will be leaving OnePlus to start his own venture. This refutes previous rumours of Carl Pei being promoted similar to Pete Lau at OPPO, and OnePlus has still not made any announcement yet.

Do note that this is a developing story so keep an eye out for more information.

On 13th October 2020, at 14:08 PDT, Android Police reported that Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus supposedly left the company. At that time, OnePlus has declined to comment to Android Police. They've since updated the article to reflect Android Central's findings (read below), but OnePlus has not confirmed anything publicly yet.

Redditor JonSigur shared some pictures and claimed these images are internal notes which were sent to OnePlus staff. In the image below you can see that Carl Pei is not mentioned anymore in the list of the Personnel Appointments.


Android Central, who relies on two sources which are familiar with OnePlus' situation, confirmed that Carl Pei has indeed left the company in the recent weeks. OnePlus was founded by Pete Lau and Carl Pei. Pete Lau is an ex-employee of OPPO. They started OnePlus in December 2013 and launched the OnePlus One smartphone; a lot of smartphone for very little money. Carl Pei was involved with making business-related decisions and giving presentations regarding new products. He was mostly involved speaking with the western market because of his great English skills. This was supposedly because he grew up in Sweden. That was by far not everything Carl Pei did: he was also assigned to the Nord-project. This involved creating a smartphone with a relatively low price. You can read how the smartphone was conceived here.

As Carl Pei doesn't work at OnePlus anymore, Emily Dai (India Operations) had taken over the lead role of the Nord-project. Pete Lau took a limited role back at OPPO in August 2020, and he became the Senior VP at OPLUS in September 2020. This may indicate Pete Lau could leave the company as well. As to what this means for the company, we're not sure yet. Given that OnePlus initially grew out of OPPO, we may see a merging of sorts. Sure enough, Oppo and OnePlus merged their R&D teams recently. This likely shouldn't affect anything, since these 2 companies always shared technology anyway (after all, all OnePlus phones are based on Oppo flagships of the same year).

Given Carl Pei's recent forum post saying goodbye, we can expect an official press release from OnePlus soon. On 9th December 2020, Carl Pei revealed he has plans for an audio-focused company - with products that will be "so much more than" headphones. At OnePlus, Carl was also part of the leadership team for the OnePlus Bullets earphones. His venture has received $7 million in Series-A funding, with well-known names like Steve Huffman (Reddit CEO), Kevin Lin (Twitch co-founder), and Tony Fedell (former Apple VP) being a few of the investors. We recommend reading through the entire WIRED UK article, because it contains some more information.

On 27th January 2021, it was revealed that the name of his new venture was Nothing. The website has a short video introducing its branding, as well as a few quotes from some of its investors. Nothing more, just creating hype for now. Perhaps this tweet from Carl Pei can now be seen as a clever joke. Until they reveal more concrete information, we recommend you read through The Verge's article about this, and you can check their Twitter and Instagram pages.

On 16th February 2021, 9to5Google found filings at the UK Intellectual Property Office confirming that Essential's trademarks, logo, brand etc are now owned by Carl Pei's Nothing Technologies Limited (which recently received a $15 million funding from Google Ventures). This ownership change should also include IP, contracts, patents and cash, but we're not sure yet. For the unaware, Essential is most known for the PH-1 which was a phone both loved and hated by people when it launched. The company had plans for PH-2 and maybe another successor, but Andy Rubin's sexual harassment allegations put an end to the company in 2020. Its former employees started OSOM Products, which is a company "focused on privacy" that aims to release its first Android smartphone later this year.

Nothing may make a public statement (read: teaser that creates hype and doesn't actually reveal anything) soon, but all we know so far is that they plan to release wireless earbuds in the summer.