Nothing, the technology brand from former OnePlus CEO Carl Pei and creators of the Nothing Ear 2 earbuds and Nothing Phone 2, today announced a new sub-brand, CMF by Nothing. The company says it’ll use this brand to appeal to value-sensitive customers.
“Nothing is dedicated to making tech fun again and has proven its abilities to break boundaries in industrial design,” Nothing shared in an emailed release. “As such, the company believes it can make good design more democratic and impact more people. Understanding that different consumers want different things, CMF by Nothing will serve to bridge the gap in the value segment with better quality products that offer clean and timeless design.”
Though Nothing does not explain what CMF stands for, it typically refers to color, material, and finish in the industrial design space. Presumably, these will be focal points for the company’s first products. CMF by Nothing plans to open with a smartwatch and earbuds later this year. It’s not yet clear if it plans to use Google’s Wear OS 3.5 or some other proprietary operating system like the OnePlus Watch did.
Nothing’s most recent product release was the Nothing Phone 2, a powerful and competent smartphone that impressed in design but fell a bit short of the best smartphones. Perhaps this new sub-brand might be better.
Meet the new guy, same as the old guy
There’s nothing wrong with the tactic of launching a sub-brand to appeal to a new audience, it’s just that for a company that prides itself on innovation, Nothing is content to remix the same old tunes we’ve heard before.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an enthusiast brand launches a new phone for the fans at a lower price than the market incumbents, it then raises prices and launches a new brand aimed at being more accessible to people who can’t afford to pay full price shortly after.
Coming a day after the OnePlus Nord 3 finally launched in the UK, the CMF by Nothing pitch seems familiar. A CMF by Nothing phone could be more derivative of CEO Carl Pei’s former company, but we’ll have to wait till next year until Nothing discovers that people also like to buy the best cheap phones too.
That being said, Carl Pei’s Nothing Phones and the most recent Nothing Ear 2 were praised for their designs, if nothing else. Perhaps the company might make inexpensive yet attractive wearables. The market is competitive, to be sure, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.