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OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new venture Nothing has been the talk of the town in 2021. Its first product, wireless earbuds Ear (1), was launched in India on 27 July. Nothing will be expanding its portfolio to address the entire consumer technology space. In an interview with Mint, Manu Sharma, vice-president and general manager, Nothing India, said it may even consider local manufacturing. Edited excerpts:

Is Ear (1) the entry point? Will you focus on the entire consumer electronics segment?

Yes, you are right that we are launching the Ear (1), which is just the starting point of our journey. We want to introduce a complete ecosystem of products and services that are beyond audio.

The biggest consumer tech companies are strong in both hardware and software. What’s the focus for Nothing?

Both are equally important. You can’t do one without the other. Now, we are scaling up our research and development capability rapidly. It’s equally important for us to work on both areas. Our long-term vision is to have technology that feels like nothing, which means we would want to work towards both hardware and software.

Are you looking to partner with companies such as Qualcomm and others for closer integration with the ecosystem?

Let me put it this way: for our future products, and as we roll out more categories, we will be working with various ecosystem players. I would not want to name any one of them right now, but it’s very important to be connected.

While we are a very young company, we have a wealth of experience in the consumer technology space.

We understand the market and the dynamics, and of course the ecosystem of players in the consumer tech space is very important.

So, definitely all kinds of partnerships are on the table.

India is a high-volume market, but at lower price points. How do you see that figuring in your journey?

Indian consumers are extremely bright, and they are value-conscious consumers. What we want to address within India is consumers who are tech-savvy, want to get hold of the latest devices and latest technologies.

There are consumers who are trend-setters and love design, we want to address that space. And that space is across Gen Z or millennials, or even Gen X.

How will you keep prices competitive, given the restrictions that the government has put in place to promote local manufacturing?

The fact that the India launch of Ear (1) happened alongside the global launch is a testament to the importance of the market for Nothing. Our products are being expertly assembled around the world. The important thing is that our future customers and stakeholders can rely on us to deliver quality products with our unique design approach. So, we will always remain open and flexible in our supply chain. I’d not rule anything out at this stage.

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