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Monday, September 20, 2021

‘Nothing is for tech that fades away into the background’

Manu Sharma, Vice President and General Manager, Nothing India discusses the the brand's product plans and vision ahead of its first product's launch in the country.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi |
Updated: July 27, 2021 7:15:18 pm
Nothing, Nothing India, Nothing logo,UK-based Nothing also launched its first product, the Nothing ear (1) TWS earbuds globally today. (Image Source: Nothing)

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s latest venture Nothing has raked up a lot of interest in the market even before its first products have become available to users. We spoke to Manu Sharma, Vice President and General Manager, Nothing India about the new brand, its vision, product plans, and of course, its name.

Why the name Nothing?

Nothing is our long-term vision. Because the current state of technology is such that it’s too much in your face, and it’s too intrusive. We see technology being there serving you and enabling you when working in the background and it kind of fades away. So you feel like nothing exists in the new technology so that’s the vision around Nothing.

Nothing’s founder Carl Pei has been somebody who has been associated with a whole lot of devices. But out of that why have you all chosen TWS as the product you want to launch first? Is that just the beginning of a longer journey?

Yes, absolutely right. So, our plan is to introduce a complete ecosystem of connected devices, beyond audio. In the short term right now, our first step in the journey is to launch the Ear1 earbuds. This market is growing rapidly globally as well as in India. We felt we can make an immediate impact on the market as it is begging for differentiation in the design and user experience. You see products which are exactly the same.

Nothing is going to stand out from a design perspective, from the user perspective. Also, it allows us a simple category to build the capability of our infrastructure, our teams, our capabilities, our marketing, and operations to literally build a launchpad for other segments and categories that lets us move forward.

So absolutely right, this is just the beginning of our journey… we have a very strong plan for other categories as well.

Being a greenfield brand so to say, at one end you have the challenge of making people aware of the product or products, while on the other you also have the challenge of taking it to the end consumer. So how have you planned that journey?

Globally, we are headquartered in London, which is literally the intersection of technology and design. All our marketing, operations, and design would be out of Europe and design will be out of Sweden. We want to build a very strong London-based brand. We have a very strong and diverse team with a wealth of experience in the consumer technology space that would allow us to address the market. We clearly see gaps in the market that we want to address. We have seen an opportunity to revive the passion in design and in terms of the user experience that customers are looking for.

We want to build iconic designs with ‘Teenage Engineering’ on board as our founding partners. They will lead the artistry and craftsmanship that this industry pays.

Nothing, nothing ear (1), The Nothing ear (1) comes with a stemmed design and silicone tips. (Image Source: Nothing)

As far as India is concerned, it is an important market for Nothing globally. We are launching at the same time as global and India is among the first markets where we are building our teams and capabilities. We also announced our partnership with Flipkart earlier and they are an important partner for us to sell our products.

We have also ensured that we have strong customer support in India. So, we are also working with a Flipkart company, so that we have a presence in more than 171 cities across India, with more than 207 centres. At the same time, we will be providing pickup and drop service across India as well.

Also, India is getting very strategic pricing as we want to grow the market. This is also because Carl himself has a strong follower base in India and the country is very close to his heart. That’s really our game plan.

Is it a challenge or an opportunity, launching and selling a device in the middle of a pandemic like this?

The earbuds market is growing very rapidly (because of the pandemic). In fact, the demand for such products has increased tremendously. But then this is not just because of the pandemic, but also because people are moving from wired to wireless very rapidly.

The kind of state-of-the-art features you have in these devices, especially for Ear1, whether it comes to the sound or clarity of voice or design, we feel we will be able to have a solid impact on the market in terms of attracting customers.

Stay tuned for our full review of the Nothing ear (1) earbuds later this week.

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