OnePlus founder takes on Apple with $99 headphones
OnePlus founder takes on Apple with $99 headphones

The co-founder of Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is challenging Apple to offer cheaper alternatives to the tech giant's popular wireless headphones.

In 2013, Carl Pei and his former colleague Pete Lau helped found OnePlus.

The Chinese company has attracted followers by making affordable Android phones with attractive specifications.

Carl Bay left the company in October. But he came back with a new hardware project called None. The goal is to develop a set of smart devices connected via applications.

The London startup has launched its first product, a wireless earbud called Ear 1.

Wireless headphones have active noise cancellation, similar to AirPods Pro. But it's $99, which makes it significantly cheaper than Apple's $249 earbuds.

"We've seen the wireless market grow very quickly this year," Bai said. It's like a place where we can make a difference.

According to data from market research firm Counterpoint Research, sales of wireless earbuds are expected to reach 233 million in 2020 and are expected to exceed 300 million this year.

OnePlus founder's project faces stiff competition. Apple captured nearly a third of the market share last year, while Xiaomi and Samsung ranked second and third in market share respectively.

But Pai believes that most consumer technologies look the same today. There is a general lack of interest in consumer technology, he said. If you look at the products, they also become more repetitive and less interesting.

The ambition of the founder of OnePlus

There is little hope that the Ear 1 will stand out from the competition with a few design changes.

For example, no user headphone magnet appears attached to the case, and these magnets are usually hidden in most wireless headphones.

Ear 1 is also transparent, and there is a space between the two earphones for easy grip.

Another unusual design option for the Ear 1 is the absence of the letters L and R to indicate which headphones are on the left and which ones are on the right.

Or the right earphone has a red dot and a white dot on the left earphone.

According to Bey, red is a right for many enthusiasts. For example, on RCA audio cables, red usually represents the correct audio channel.

Design features aside, the company said the Ear 1 can play up to 5.7 hours of music on a single charge, while the case can play up to 34 hours longer than AirPods. for every.

The headphones are equipped with three different microphones, two of which pick up ambient noise while the third focuses on the sound.

The headphones are connected to an app that includes four different equalizer settings and three noise reduction modes.


Sale starts on 8/17. 100 Limited Edition Engraved Ear 1s will be auctioned off on StockX.

The Ear 1's unique look and feel is reminiscent of the introduction of older OnePlus phones, most of which are invite-only.

So far, no company has raised more than $20 million from investors, including Google and the inventor of the iPod. The company's goal is to raise funds again this year or early 2022.

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