Carl Pei’s Nothing start-up has released more tidbits of information about the company’s debut product, its wireless earbuds dubbed the Ear 1. Nothing shared renders of the transparent earphones a few months ago, calling it “a grandmother’s tobacco pipe.” Now, with three weeks before the product’s launch date, Pei has revealed that the Ear 1 will be priced at US$99 (~RM411) and is going to directly compete with the more expensive Apple AirPods Pro.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Pei explained that the company will achieve the “fair price” by keeping the cost down through direct online sales channels. “With the Ear (1), it’s a much more costly design to realise than a standard, non-transparent design. I think it’s going to be a good price at $99 USD, €99 Euros, and £99. Feature-wise, it’s similar to the AirPods Pro, but the AirPods Pro is $249,” said the Nothing founder and CEO.
Pei promises the Ear 1 will have the upper hand with an AirPods Pro-like feature set, including active noise cancelling (ANC). Following this, it is revealed on Nothing ‘s official website that the earbuds’ onboard ANC system will arrive via three “high definition” mics.
Despite boasting the Ear 1’s unique look, the decision for it to adopt a transparent design proved to be complex and led to a launch delay from June to 27 July this year. “It turns out, there’s a reason why there’s not a lot of transparent consumer tech products out there,” Pei explained. “It’s really, really hard to make it high quality.”
“You need to ensure that everything inside looks just as good as the outside,” the company founder explained further. “It could be getting the right magnets — as magnets are usually designed to go inside of a product and not be seen by the consumer — to figuring out the best type of gluing. You never have to solve that problem if you have a non-transparent product, but what kind of glue will keep the industrial design intact?”
Nothing is relying on direct sales to drive down costs, with an initial focus on the UK, India, Europe and North America, followed by Japan, Korea and other countries. At half of the AirPods Pro’s current market price, the Ear 1 should be able to live up to the hype if the ANC is anywhere near as good – a feature many budget earbuds have, but often disappoints. Also not forgetting its overall quality in terms of audio delivery, with a high bar to reach especially with plenty of other non-Apple competitors currently available in the market.