Carl Pei grabs former OnePlus exec to head the Nothing Phone (2) launch

The back of the Nothing Phone (1) with its glyph lights illuminated
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Nothing's next phone is expected to have a global launch, including in the United States.
  • The company has hired Kyle Kiang as VP of North America, where he will lead the phone's global launch.
  • Also, a new report claims that 70% of the software team from Nothing comprises people from OnePlus.

After exiting OnePlus, we all anticipated its co-founder Carl Pei would be making something, which eventually became Nothing. The new tech company has so far given us exciting products like the Nothing Phone (1) and a handful of earbuds.

The very same team is now gearing up to release the next big product, the Nothing Phone (2). While we look forward to the launch, a new Inverse report says that those "intellectual minds" at the company behind these exciting products are mostly former OnePlus personnel.

Inverse report further suggests that Nothing is aggressively poaching talent from OnePlus to have a grand launch of the alleged Phone (2).

"Seventy percent of the software team at Nothing are from OnePlus," a source familiar with the company's operations told Inverse. "Thirty percent of the hardware team is from OnePlus," the report added.

Since Nothing's inception in 2021, it's been seen as a design-focused company as the products released by the company stood up in the design aspect. The products were, however, considered middle-of-the-road, especially with the Phone (1), which didn't officially enter the U.S. market during the launch.

The Nothing Phone (2) may be a more significant product, and the company is reportedly planning big. We already know it is hitting the U.S. market this time with a flagship Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. This is the same chipset that powered most of the best Android phones last year, including the foldables.

The Inverse report further revealed that Nothing is targeting tech enthusiasts this time, just like what OnePlus did during its initial stages. And, to make the Phone (2) launch significant, OnePlus' former Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Kiang is said to be leading the launch worldwide.

Days after Inverse's article was published, Pei confirmed that Kiang is indeed employed at Nothing, where he has taken the role of VP of North America.

Considering the accomplishments of Kiang at OnePlus, like setting up OnePlus' first wireless carrier partnership with T-Mobile a couple of years ago, he could be an ideal choice for Nothing to really take things global outside European and Asian markets. This will be especially important for the Nothing Phone (2), given it's the company's first phone to launch in the United States.

On the hardware front, Nothing has been solid when it comes to building products. For the software side of things, Nothing had apparently approached several ex-OnePlus software leads to help give Nothing OS a distinctive look.

Shawn Liu is said to be among them, who created features on OnePlus and OxygenOS devices like the Zen mode and Always-On display. Similarly, Cookie Xu, who was apparently behind Reading mode, Expanded Screenshot, and the Alert Slider software, is also on the list.

Nothing's hiring former OnePlus employees isn't entirely unexpected. But it likely makes the company more determined to compete in a market where OnePlus has struggled to gain much of a presence.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.