Carl Pei’s New Company Has Purchased Essential for Some Reason

Posted on February 15, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile with 22 Comments

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei recently started a new firm called Nothing. And Nothing has acquired the rotting husk of Essential for reasons that are unclear.

This is according to a report in 9to5Google, which discovered legal filings with the UK Intellectual Property Office showing that “former Android founder Andy Rubin has signed over ownership of his one-time smartphone entrant Essential to Carl Pei’s Nothing Technologies Limited.” The acquisition was completed on January 6, 2021, after having been filed last November.

And … huh?

Essential, as you may recall, marketed an innovative Android handset, the PH-1, back in 2017, but it was a high-profile failure and the firm never released a second model. In 2018, Essential laid off 30 percent of its workforce, and it announced plans to forge ahead with smart home products. But in February 2020, Essential ceased operations and shut down the company.

Nothing’s acquisition of Essential occurred before Carl Pei even announced that the company existed, which is kind of interesting. But it’s not clear what his plans are. Nothing is, of course, a terrible name for a company. Perhaps he just intends to move forward with the Essential brand instead. That brand is pretty much the former company’s only remaining asset.

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