The Essential Phone has dominated our morning as it quickly became the new talk of the town. The co-founder of Android launching a flagship smartphone certainly got people interested for many reasons. But the Essential Phone isn’t all that Essential Products revealed today.
Essential Home is another product that was announced today by Essential Products. Essential Home is essentially a Google Home competitor, but with an interactive display. The round ‘auto-display’ can be activated with a spoken question, a tap, or even a ‘glance‘. The small device looks like a wireless charging dock, and Essential claims that it is designed to never intrude upon the home.
Essential Home does a lot of what we have come to expect from digital assistant products like Google Home and Amazon Echo. You can initiate voice searches, set timers, and control your lights. What Essential does differently is aiming to talk to your devices over your in-home network as much as possible to limit sending data to the cloud. The proactive assistant on the Essential Home also runs its AI engine locally on the device, indicating a better sense of user privacy so far than Google and Amazon.
Essential Home is powered by Ambient OS. Details are scarce on what Ambient OS exactly is, but Essential claims Ambient OS “brings the home to life by choreographing the devices, content, people and context in it”, which means it is an OS for a smart hub when you look past the marketing speak. Ambient OS also claims to automatically introduce itself to new and existing devices and help set them up in no time. Ambient OS is also “the API for home technology, allowing you to write applications that provide a unified experience across multiple devices”. Ambient OS has an open SDK that will allow developers to develop new functionality and radically extend Essential Home’s capabilities, but the company has not provided any more information or a link beyond this statement. We hope to learn more about Ambient OS and its SDK when the Essential Home reaches the hands of consumers.
Speaking of reaching the hands of consumers, there is no information on the company’s website for the availability of this product. There is very little information on Essential Home for that matter — no specifications, no prices, not even a complete feature list of what the product can do. A report from Wired claims that the Essential Home will ship ‘later this summer’, claiming that Essential has built a system that works seamlessly with SmartThings, HomeKit, Nest, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. That is a bold claim, one which we can verify only when the product actually comes out.
What are your thoughts on Essential Home? Can the device stand apart from other digital assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo? Let us know in the comments below!