Back in 2020, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei left the company to found another tech venture. With a brand name seemingly picked with the sole intention of making tech journalists’ lives that bit harder, Nothing was born. The company wasted little time in creating the Nothing Ear (1) earbuds last year to a generally positive reception.

For its next trick, it looks like Nothing will be coming up with a smartphone. While “man who made a fortune selling smartphones plans on selling more smartphones” perhaps isn’t the most surprising headline in the world, TechCrunch is confident that the wheels are now firmly in motion for the first Nothing-branded handset to arrive sooner rather than later.

According to the site, the company has been working on the phone for over a year, and has plans to announce it by next month. Pei has apparently been showing executives a prototype of the phone at this week’s Mobile World Congress, and one of the meetings was with chip maker Qualcomm. Again, unsurprising given the companies have already made a big song and dance about working together.

The Nothing Ear (1) earbuds were distinct for their semi-transparent design, and apparently we can expect more of the same this time around, which is good for those who like to see what makes their hardware tick. Or those who just want a constant reminder that phonmes are full of fragile parts, and you’re always just seconds away from an expensive NZ$400 screen replacement.

The Nothing Phone’s apparently imminent arrival shouldn’t be an enormous surprise and, appropriately for a man who now specialises in see-through earbuds, Pei has been reasonably transparent about long-term plans. “We’ll start with simpler products, wireless earbuds,” he said last year. “We’re going to have multiple products throughout the year, not just audio products, and eventually we want to build it so these devices talk to each other.” 

If that wasn’t a strong enough hint, the company also bought Android creator Andy Rubin’s Essential branding last year. Said branding turned out to be a little bit unfortunate, given sales figures proved that the Essential Phone was anything but essential, but maybe there’s a good reason for the acquisition. If TechCrunch’s sources are correct, we could well find out next month.