Rumors and regulatory filings suggest Nothing is developing wireless earbuds under a new subbrand.
A new Bluetooth SIG listing has 91Mobiles and us speculating whether Nothing could be involved in a second true wireless earbuds brand. By itself the listing isn’t anything interesting. It’s for an unnamed pair of wireless earphones with the model number B154 running the Bluetooth 5.2 standard. But that model number, B154, previously appeared in a December report from 91Mobiles which said they’ll be sold under the name “Particles by XO,” though it’s unclear whether this refers to the earbuds themselves (Particles?), the subbrand (XO?), or some combination of the two.
Yes, Nothing is just about to launch a successor to its Nothing Ear 1 earbuds on March 22nd. But those earbuds reportedly use the model number B155, which appears in a separate Bluetooth SIG listing. These Nothing Ear 2 earbuds appear to be a fairly standard-looking followup to the Ear 1s, featuring Nothing’s signature transparent design language, and white, black, and red color scheme.
B154 meanwhile, reportedly relates to a pair of wacky looking true wireless earbuds with an odd bulbous design. Images of the earbuds were found by app sleuth Kuba Wojciechowski, who also reportedly unearthed the branding “Particles by XO” listed as made by Nothing in firmware from the company’s servers. Features reportedly include support for active noise cancellation, according to 91Mobiles. Aside from this report, however, there’s little obvious to link Nothing to this “Particles by XO” branding, which appears in a US trademark filing registered to a company called “The Must Unknown LLC.”
So what’s going on? While it seems strange for a young company like Nothing (which to date has released just three products) to be developing a second brand, its CEO Carl Pei has previously hinted at these sorts of future developments. Last year, Pei told me that he had ambitions for Nothing to consult with other companies to help them launch their products. “We [could] help them do a lot of the work that they can’t do themselves,” Pei said. Could “Particles by XO” be the first of such partnerships?
A spokesperson for Nothing did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.