Andy Rubin (key developer behind Android) & CEO Essential wants to build an android based modern house for the future. His appearance at the Code Conference this week, revealed a long term strategy that his company Essential is pursuing. The talk in the conference revolved around the mobile phone that his company is launching, a vanilla android based phone, but the emphasis remained on the future home and a product that Essential believes will eventually change the modern homes.
What are hubs and how are they changing modern homes?
We are living in an era of smart machines – the phone is smart, the refrigerator is smart, and even the washing machine is smart. Companies have realized that the future homes will contain machines that will require communication with each other. The sci-fi concepts of walking in a room and chanting ‘lights’ to turn on all the lights isn’t fiction anymore. This is what a hub is – a device that controls other devices based on voice commands by the user.
Amazon’s Voice Controller in the form of Echo received magnificent response and the device continues to sell in numbers. Samsung too has launched such hubs that control its devices. Apple hasn’t done anything yet, but it may do something one day and everyone will happily accept it as an innovation.
So why do we need another Hub when we already have that?
This is where Essential come into play and where Rubin’s vision shines. An ordinary home will of course be having multiple devices from multiple companies. Unlike the smartphone assistants that have to deal with one hardware platform, a house assistant may have to deal with many different manufacturers products. No matter how much Samsung want, a home unit will have tech products manufactured by its competitors among others.
The standardization of a hub in that case, or a hub that allows multiple voice assistants to run thus in case, will ultimately end up ruling them all.
Essential’s Ambient – New Operating System
Rubin’s statement that Essential has poured ‘extensive funds’ in developing a new operating system for the hub will please many. Building a new operating system from scratch is a major achievement, let alone for a startup. It however is the sort of neutral approach that was fundamental to Android’s development. If all goes according to plan, third-party systems will start integrating Ambient into their devices directly, rather than having to deal with several different walled systems. It’s a win-win for Essential, and a play that could help the operating system spread.
Also Read: Jarvis – Zuckerberg’s Home Automation AI
Andy Rubin is confident that we can build a seamless future, and looking at his credentials; who’d say he cannot deliver his promise? Not me at least.