Fresh off the launch of the Nothing ear(1) Bluetooth earbuds, Carl Pei’s startup has now confirmed a strategic partnership with US chipmaker Qualcomm.

After acquiring the now-defunct Essential earlier this year, the first product launched was within the wireless audio space. At the time, Pei hinted that there were no plans for the “Essential” brand. Alongside the Qualcomm partnership, Nothing has also raised $50 million as part of the Series A extension from private investors.

Today London-based consumer tech brand Nothing announces it is collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and its Snapdragon platform to power future tech products.

The ear(1) Bluetooth earbuds appear to be the very first step into a wider lineup of connected products, and today’s announcement hints that we will see “preparation for the brand’s entry into new product categories as part of its ecosystem” with a particular focus on the Snapdragon platform. Most will know that the Snapdragon lineup is used mainly for Android smartphones and associated tech. Just what that future product lineup includes is not yet clear but Pei states that the Qualcomm partnership will help fuel Nothing Technologies “next phase of growth”.

Seamless connectivity is paramount to achieving our vision of a future without barriers between people and technology. We look forward to working alongside Qualcomm Technologies and our strategic investors to achieve Nothing’s next phase of growth.”

– Carl Pei, Nothing Technologies

Qualcomm’s Enrico Salvatori also noted Nothing’s “ecosystem of tech products” and similarly gave special mention to the “Snapdragon mobile platforms with 5G connectivity”. The US chipmaker also offers audio technology that is used in a wide range of smart speakers, Bluetooth headphones, headsets and home theater systems.

Whether this means that Nothing is moving into the smartphone space still is not clear or even explicit at this early stage, but as the announcement hints — as many have already speculated — it could very well be case of “when” rather than “if.”

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