Seems like there’s little room for surprises left in the industry, these days — and not just because of all the leaks. Like Google with its Pixel line, Nothing has moved away from the standard model of revealing products in one fell swoop. Instead, it’s taken to shaping its own news cycle through slow, official teasers. With its third — and latest — device, the company gave us practically everything but date and price.
This morning, founder Carl Pei officially unveiled the product. Like, officially, officially. The arrival of the Nothing Ear (stick) finds the company returning to the groundwork laid last summer by its first product, the Nothing Ear (1). The two immediately clear distinctions here are the new “lipstick-style” case that gives the product its parenthetical and move to a “half in-ear” design, versus its predecessors’ silicone tips.
The (stick) isn’t replacing the (1), mind you. The pitch is instead focused on people who prefer the more traditional design, à la the AirPods versus AirPods Pro. I’m not among them, but I don’t blame you if you are. Everybody’s body’s different. The company says the design was “tested on over 100 people.” Otherwise, the buds (the stems, really) look more or less like the other product. Certainly no complaints there.
The Ear (1) promised 24/34 hours of battery life, all told, depending on active noise canceling and other usage. The (stick) is rated at 29 hours with the case and the big caveat that active noise canceling isn’t an option here (also like the standard AirPods). Still, if they can duplicate the sound of the (1) with their 12.6mm driver, you can justify the $99 ($149 CAD) price tag pretty easily.
On that note, Pei took to Twitter last week to note that the price of the (1) had coincidentally increased from $99 to $149, owing to “an increase in costs.” Certainly the cost of producing devices at scale has jumped recently, thanks to supply chain shortages and inflation. The founder added that the company has sold “almost” 600,000 pairs of its first product.
Sales for the (stick) open November 4 in 40-odd countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Canada. They also will be available at Nothing’s first store in London, naturally.