Led by the visionary minds of co-founders Pete Lau and Carl Pei, the company needed just a few years to break into the extremely challenging US market while positioning itself as a budget-friendly yet premium alternative to the likes of Apple and Samsung pretty much around the world.
Carl Pei's 2020 departure from the outfit he helped create back in 2013 may have been caused by a change of course dictated by CEO Pete Lau. Whatever the reasons behind Pei's shocking move, the entrepreneur quickly decided to start from, well, nothing yet again, raising $7 million in a seed financing round in December for an unconventional new hardware venture.The transition from an ambitious startup to an established name in the industry was of course not easy, and although it was never confirmed,
Curiously dubbed Nothing, the company got an additional $15 million Series A backing from none other than Google recently while also seemingly acquiring a somewhat controversial brand formerly owned by a similarly unconventional outfit.
We're talking about Essential, a name that many Android purists put plenty of faith in a number of years ago only to end up bitterly disappointed. Founded by Andy Rubin, who helped lay the foundation for what's now the world's most popular mobile operating system, Essential delivered a single love-or-hate phone while never getting its promised smart speaker off the ground.
The company's untimely (but totally predictable) death came on the heels of some very credible sexual harassment allegations made against Rubin, which basically ensured the Essential Phone 2 could never see daylight. Obviously, Andy Rubin is no longer linked to Essential in any way, but it's still odd to see Carl Pei (possibly) considering the revival of a name that never truly connected with the masses.
For the time being, there's nothing we can say for certain about any future product release plans for the "Nothing Essential" combination of brands, but following the wireless earbuds already confirmed for this summer, we definitely wouldn't rule out Pei dipping his toes in the smartphone waters again.
At the same time, there's a good chance the Essential acquisition had more to do with patents, especially related to smart home technology, than the actual brand and its mainstream popularity (or lack thereof) in the global smartphone market.