Andy Rubin, the father of our beloved Android OS has today launched his Essential phone, Ambient OS and a new home assistant called: Essential Home.

Essential Home is a smaller device, almost the size of an Amazon Echo Dot but with an angled screen to display information. It’s an intelligent assistant much like Google’s Home, and Amazon’s Alexa powered Echo line of devices.

Powered by Essentials own ‘Ambient OS’, the Essential Home is set to be a home assistant that will do all the usual stuff like answer questions, play music and set timers, as well as control all your smart home functions like turning lights on or off.

Ambient OS is an adaptive piece of software that’s being built as a platform. It will have an API for developers of home automation to hook into, but exactly what, or how it will operate isn’t really clear. Essential says ‘Ambient OS brings the home to life by choreographing the devices, content, people, and context in it’.

The device will essentially work locally with information going between devices rather than up to the cloud. It’s all about maintaining privacy says Dwipal Desai, Essential Business Unit Lead: Home Devices. He says

Your home is your private space and we want to make sure that your privacy is taken seriously. We designed Essential Home to directly talk to your devices over your in-home network as much as possible in order to limit sending data to the cloud. Essential Home’s proactive assistant also runs its AI engine locally on the device. We will continue to work on innovative ways to make the device smarter without compromising privacy.

When it will become available isn’t clear. The Essential phone has a pre-order date, Essential Home doesn’t and even then Australian availability isn’t clear.

We’ll likely get some more specs and information on pricing and availability in the coming months, so stay tuned for more details. If you do want more info, Andy will be on-stage at CODE in a few hours

Source: Essential Home.
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    Michael Delpach

    I know that Andy said this Home device will act as a bridge to talk to Google Home, Amazon Echo etc. and try to address the problem of having different apps provided by the manufacturer for each device e.g. door, lights etc. Given perception is that Home is doing something Google Home wouldn’t do, but is it really the case? Google Home can talk to all other Google Home compliant hardware as well – regardless of the manufacturer. Isn’t Google Home trying to achieve the same thing?