Andy Rubin, the founder of Android, has unveiled a smart home hub called Essential Home, one of two devices unveiled this week as part of his new technology brand.
Essential Home shares a lot of similarities with Amazon Echo and Google Home, including voice commands, responses, and support for third-party devices.
Instead of limiting interaction to voice, Home comes with a round display that shows information and lets users tap to talk. Users can also glance at Home to activate it.
Essential wants to get the ball rolling quicker than other smart hubs, it will quickly start scanning calendars, notes, and other apps and offering suggestions. If traffic is particularly bad on one morning, it will tell you to set off a few minutes early.
Rubin’s company is also launching a new operating system, called Ambient OS, which can supposedly introduce itself to new and existing smart home devices without any manual pairing.
The automatic integration is good for developers, according to Essential, as it allows them to write applications that “provide a unified experience across multiple devices.”
Home will talk to devices over the home network, instead of going back and forth in the cloud. Essential also plans to limit the amount of information sent to the cloud, taking a page straight out of Apple’s privacy book.
No known when it will launch
No price has been announced for the Home and we don’t know when it will launch in the U.S.
Rubin launched the Essential Phone this week as well, a high-end Android device that has a near bezel-less display and all the latest specs. Instead of aluminium, Essential uses titanium, which it says is very unlikely to smash.
After Android, Rubin spent a few years in the robotics division at Google, before leaving to launch tech incubator Playground Global. He started Essential Products, the brand behind the Home and Phone, late last year, and these are the two first products.