This IS The Essential Home Smart Speaker That Never Released | #android | #security

Back in May 2017, the now-defunct technology company Essential announced its first two products — a smartphone dubbed Essential PH-1 and a smart speaker called Essential Home. But only the former made it to market. The Essential Home smart speaker never saw the light of day. Now, more than two years after the company shut operations in February 2020, a prototype of the device has popped up on the internet, giving us a first look at it.

The Essential Home prototype that we see today, which has been put up for sale on eBay (via), features the same circular form factor with a sloped top that the company showcased in concept images back in 2017. It sports a large circular display up top. This is a device that “you’ll actually be proud to display in your home,” Essential had said about its design. “No boxes, tubes, or strange lights.”

The display on this device was said to activate with just a glance though you could also tap on it or use voice commands. Essential dreamed of making a product that unifies the dozens of Internet of Things (IoT) systems by combining everything from Samsung SmartThings and Apple HomeKit to Google Nest, “and the rest”. Alas, the company couldn’t realize that dream.

This prototype shows the Essential Home running Android OS

When Essential originally announced its smart speaker, the company said it will run a custom operating system dubbed Ambient OS. But the images provided in this eBay listing show it to b running Android OS. Android 8.1 to be specific, with the June 2018 Android security patch. This suggests Essential worked on this product for well over a year after announcing it. Unfortunately, the company could never make it ready for prime time.

Before it closed shop, Essential was also working on two follow-up smartphone models for the Essential PH-1, which didn’t have smooth sailing in the market either. The Essential PH-2 was close to launching while the Essential PH-3 was also actively in development. But the company, founded by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, could not see a clear way of delivering the “Gem” of smartphones to customers. Nothing, former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s latest venture, bought the Essential brand last year.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested in this Essential Home prototype, the eBay seller is asking $900 for it (shipping charges extra). But it’s unclear whether the device is functional. It does turn on but there’s no confirmation of it working beyond that. You can check out the device below.

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