Alongside its new Android smartphone, Andy Rubin’s Essential today also revealed a new home-focused product.
The Essential Home is a smart home device like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home. Essential’s device features a round display and an assistant that can do things like answer questions, set timers, and integrate with services to perform actions like playing music and controlling your smart home products. It also offers proactive info, like telling you if you should leave early for a meeting due to traffic.
Powering this Essential Home is software called Ambient OS. This operating system includes support for services like SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest, and other smart home offerings, and according to a Wired report, it also works with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant.
Essential is also placing a heavy focus on privacy with the Home. The device communicates with your other smart home products over your in-home network to limit its contact with the cloud, and its assistant runs its AI engine locally.
Unfortunately, those are all the details that we currently have about the Essential Home. The device is expected to launch later this year, but its exact launch date and price remain a mystery.
The Essential Home looks like a nice device, offering a form factor that’s reminiscent of a hockey puck and that’s dominated by a round display. Because we know so little about the device, though, it’s tough to get too excited about it or really say much else about it. Here’s to hoping that we learn more soon.