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Essential Home is Andy Rubin’s answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo

Andy Rubin unveiled Essential’s

Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android, finally revealed his new smartphone today, the almost bezel-less PH-1. In an industry besieged by leaks, it’s rare for any device to be launched these days without knowing exactly what it’ll look like. Not only did Essential manage to keep the PH-1 pretty much a secret, except for the teaser images they released themselves, they also manage to complete conceal the fact that they would be announcing another full-fledged product at the same time. Much to everyone’s surprise, we’ve now been introduced to Essential Home, the company’s smart assistant competitor.

Andy Rubin Essential's

The little puck-sized device kind of looks like the offspring of an unlikely relationship between a Google Home and an Amazon Echo Dot. It’s got the angled top of the former with the size and styling of the latter but goes further than both of them with its own touchscreen. I guess in that respect Essential Home is like an Echo Show, except it actually looks like it was designed this century. In Essential’s own words it’s a device “that you’ll actually be proud to display in your home. No boxes, tubes or strange lights.” It’s a subtle dig at its competitors, but looking at the images of the new device it’s arguably not without merit.

Andy Rubin Essential's

Aside from the device’s looks, we know that Essential Home will run it’s own proprietary operating system, dubbed Ambient OS. Apparently, the software will be capable of “introducing itself” to other smart devices in your home in order to provide a smooth set up experience, but you’ll still get the final say on whether any devices will actually be controllable by the Essential system. The “auto-display” can be activated in 3 different ways, via voice, tapping, or simply glancing at the screen. It’ll also awaken itself to alert you about contextual information, like to tell you to leave for an appointment, for example.

Past those details, we don’t yet know much about Essential Home. The website will take your email and update you when information about a release date and price is announced. Developers wishing to use the Ambient OS API can also submit their details to be notified in due course. So we’ll have to hang tight for the time being and await further news. In the meantime, let us know what you think about it in the comments. Read more about Andy rubin’s Essential PH-1 here.

 

Multi-user voice recognition is rolling out to Google Home

google home
google home

Bringing Google Assistant out of the phone and dropping it into Google Home comes with some difficulties. Not the least of which is, how do you handle personal account preferences and data when Google Home is available to everyone in the house? Until now the solution has been “don’t.” Starting today, you can register multiple users with your Google home, which recognizes them by voice.

To set this up. look for a device card in the Home app that says”Multi-user is now available” or “Link your account.” The setup process has you say the “OK Google” and “Hey Google” hotwords twice each. From then on, Google Home will be able to provide personal results because it knows who you are. The same is true for up to five other people in the house. The personal results affected by multi-user include My Day, calendars, flights, shopping lists, photos, and more.

google home logo
google home logo

Each user of Google Home will also be asked to set some preferences for things like video and music services. If you set up a new user and don’t do that, Google Home just defaults to the ones used by the first account. You can get started fiddling around with this today, but only in the US. Multi-user will roll out to the UK in the coming months.

Source: Google blogs