Nothing, the recently-launched startup from former OnePlus executive, Carl Pei, has acquired the Essential brand, according to a report from 9to5Google citing filings at the UK Intellectual Property Office. Essential, of course, was the company started by Android creator Andy Rubin after he left Google. It launched a single smartphone before shuttering its doors due to poor sales performance. Nothing’s acquisition, which was completed on January 6th, 2021, ahead of Pei’s formal announcement of Nothing, apparently includes all of the trademarks, logo, and other branding of Essential.
It’s not clear what Pei’s new company plans to do with the Essential brand (or anything else for that matter; the information on what exactly Nothing’s product plans are is as scant as the company’s name itself), but as 9to5Google notes, there isn’t much aside from the brand left at Essential, since the company closed its doors last year. Essential had planned to release a follow up to the one smartphone it did bring to market, as well as launch an ambitious new smart home platform, but neither of those ever made it out of planning phases and were obviously scrapped.
The Essential Phone was the only product Essential brought to market before closing its doors in 2020. Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
It’s also not clear why exactly Nothing would want to acquire the Essential brand, which can best be described as “tarnished” after a failed product launch and association with Rubin’s name. A 2018 report from The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Rubin during his time at Google and a massive $90 million buyout he received for leaving the company.
9to5Google’s article says that Nothing will reveal more information about its forthcoming products in the near future, so perhaps we’ll learn more about what it plans to do with the Essential brand sooner rather than later. We’ve reached out to Nothing for comment on the matter and will update this article should the company respond.