Along with the Essential Phone, Andy Rubin’s new company also announced the Essential Home, a home assistant along the lines of Amazon Echo and Google Home. Except this one has a display on it.
The Essential Home is a round hockey puck like device with an angled top that houses a circular display. Like other home assistants, the Essential Home will let you give commands and ask questions using your voice. You can ask it to play music and because it has a speaker it will play on the device itself. You can ask it to set a timer or remind you of something. The usual stuff.
Crucially, however, the Essential Home is also designed to work with all your smart home utilities. It runs what is called the Ambient OS, which works with the smart devices in your home and lets you control them using your voice. You can ask it to dim the lights, if you want, or turn on the heat.
The circular touchscreen on top will likely be the key differentiator for the Essential Home. While the current Amazon Echo and Google Home are just speakers with a microphone, the display on the Essential Home will let you control it even without using your voice and get instant visual feedback from. Amazon recently announced the Echo Show with a display but that’s quite a lot bigger and in a different league altogether.
We currently don’t know the extent on the abilities of the device and how well Ambient OS will work with everything. There isn’t a lot available in terms of information on the product on the Essential website, and that includes the price and availability. Essential has an open SDK for developers to apps and services for the Essential Home and make their hardware work with it. Apart from that, we will just have to wait and see how this thing takes shape.