Andy Rubin's latest business venture Essential unveiled a series of new products earlier today, including a smart home hub called the Essential Home. Essential calls the device "an entirely new type of product" on the basis that it's secure and nonintrusive, but judging by what has been revealed so far, the Essential Home is designed as a competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, unlike most other smart home hubs, the Essential Home does away with certain design elements and borrows a unique design language centered around a perfectly circular display.
While Andy Rubin's company didn't go into many details regarding the Essential Home so far, the product was described as a new intelligent assistant with support for voice commands. Users can activate the Essential Home by asking it a question, tapping, or glancing at the device, and can use it to control the music playing in their homes, set timers, manage lights, and more. Having said that, the Essential Home also appears to borrow from the Nest Learning Thermostat, though the product was not designed to anticipate the user's needs but can suggest certain behaviors instead. Furthermore, the Essential Home seems to put more weight on privacy and thus, it will first and foremost process and store all the data it receives locally, relying less on cloud storage and computing. In theory, this should make the product – i.e. data – more secure and possibly accessible even when offline. However as previously mentioned, not many details on the matter are currently known and it remains to be seen how exactly will the Essential Home function and compete with its rivals.
It's worth noting that the gadget will run a new operating system developed by Essential, called Ambient OS. Ambient OS may support Android applications, but judging by the renders depicting the Essential Home, it's likely that it will promote its own ecosystem instead. The Essential Home will reportedly be launched this summer but it's still unclear how much it will cost. The company should shed more light on the matter later today during the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.