AI-based virtual assistants that help you carry out tasks and answer queries are great, saving you from having to do erstwhile menial computing tasks yourself. With everything you do stored up in the cloud, however, they’re also horrific to privacy nuts. The Essential Home wants to change that.
Like Amazon Echo and Google Home, the device can take voice commands from users, allowing you to use it to search the internet for information, dig up your calendar for events, or control your smart devices. Unlike them, it runs a platform called Ambient OS that keeps all information localized rather than storing it in the cloud, ensuring your privacy is completely protected.
The Essential Home has a round, slightly-tilted display that covers, pretty much, the entire front face of the unit. As such, it can use visual cues as a primary form of communication, displaying prompts, notifications, and other information instead of simply reciting things out. It’s designed to be compatible with plenty of smart devices, so it can be used as a single hub for interfacing with smart thermostats, door locks, and the rest of your connected objects at home. We’re not actually sure if it actually serves as a speaker or it merely interfaces with them, but the former makes a whole lot more sense for something competing with Amazon’s Echo line.