The big day for Android co-founder Andy Rubin is here and his company Essential Products seems to be all geared up. Rubin created hype around its bezel-less smartphone, but Essential has more up its sleeve. Apart from the phone, the new brand has introduced the Essential Home intelligent speaker which seems to be a competitor of Google Home and Amazon Echo. The device with rounded display runs Essential’s Ambient OS. The company is yet to announce pricing and availability details for the Essential Home.
Much like other automated assistants, the new Essential Home smart speaker will allow users to ask questions, set alarm, control lights, music, and other similar functions that we can expect from Amazon Echo and Google Home. The company is stressing that the Essential Home is focused on privacy.
“Essential Home will help with daily tasks, but it will also let you create new experiences in the home with the devices you have,” said Mara Segal, Head of Product, Home Devices in an old blog post.
The company stresses that the Ambient OS isn’t developed to manage a point-to-point interaction with individual devices but to help user with relevant context for information or managing multiple devices. “With Ambient OS, your home is the computer,” said Manuel Roman, Head of Engineering, Home Devices.
The company is also stressing that the Ambient OS is the API to user’s home that enable other applications that could extend the reach of a single device. For example, users can setup a timer and have the lights in the living room flash when it goes off. “The goal of Ambient OS is to ‘activate’ your home,” adds Roman.
For privacy, Ambient OS runs in home and tries leverage home network as much as possible. The company says that Ambient OS can help Essential Home interact with home automation devices directly without having to go to the cloud. Additionally, the OS tries to keep user data locally whenever possible giving users more control over their privacy.