Andy Rubin unveils the Essential Home, a privacy-focused Google Home alternative

Essential enters the smart home gadgets market

Alongside the Essential smartphone, Andy Rubin’s new company has unveiled a second product called the Essential Home.

The device looks like a hybrid between the Nest thermostat and the Amazon Echo Dot and features a round auto-display that can be activated in three different ways: by virtue of a voice command, a tap or by simply looking at it.

While the device bundles some features that are already available with competing products, Essential boasts that the AI-powering the Home is far more advanced than anything we’ve seen so far. We’re given an example as proof – let’s say you’re listening to music and you get a phone call. When the Essential Home detects you’re talking to someone it will automatically lower the volume levels, so you can have a nice, uninterrupted conversation.

The virtual assistant inside the Essential Home will also be able to learn your habits and make relevant suggestions like alerting you lights have remained on when it “knows” (based on your behavioral patterns) you’ve turned in for the night.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Essential Home is that it runs Ambient OS, a new platform which doesn’t rely on the cloud as much as other devices do. Basically, it can interact with smart appliances around the house directly, so it’s also a security focused product. With most data processing happening on the device and not in the cloud, most of your sensitive data will be literally stored in the privacy of your own home.

That being said, we don’t have a lot of information on the Essential Home. The official website does reveal a few images/GIFs showing the product in action, but it does not list any functionalities or show pictures of a real device. Details about release date and pricing are also unknown at this point in time.

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