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Essential Home is an Amazon Echo rival no one was expecting

Essential, the company started by Android creator Andy Rubin, is set to officially unveil its new Essential Phone today, but it seems the handset will be joined by an unlikely Amazon Echo competitor.

Essential Home is a new smart speaker/smart home hub which can interact with your other smart home devices and allow those gadgets to communicate with each other more effectively.

Unlike the Amazon Echo or Google Home, however, the new device relies less on the cloud, and comes with a built-in circular screen, which means you’ll be able to operate it using touch, as well as the usual voice commands.

Related: Amazon Echo vs Google Home

It seems the speaker will be able to play music, answer your questions, and control the lights in your house, all using what might be its most interesting feature: Ambient OS.

Essential Home’s operating system relies less on cloud power than rival devices, meaning your entire smart home setup won’t be so reliant on a stable internet connection.

It also has added security benefits, keeping your information and access to the various smart home devices on your network much more protected by bypassing the cloud whenever it can.

Essential Home

The speaker will also provide suggestions, such as informing you if you’ve left a light on and asking whether it should turn it off.

That’s all down to what Essential says is the speaker’s ability to understand the physical layout of your home, as well as being aware of who’s in the house and the different devices and services that can be used.

The company is therefore referring to Ambient OS as an “API” which can “activate” your home and its various connected devices and services.

Other smart speaker offerings from Amazon and Google also work with smart home devices, and Essential isn’t redefining the smart hub idea here.

But by forgoing the cloud whenever possible and trying to integrate your various smart home devices and services, Essential Home may just offer a more secure and flexible solution.
We’ll have more when the device is officially launched so stay tuned as Andy Rubin is set to take to the stage for the official unveiling this evening.

Let us know what you think of the new smart speaker in the comments.

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