Creator of Android launches Essential Phone, Essential Home and Ambient OS

Essential Products, headed by the creator of Android, the operating system in more than two billion phones, televisions, cars, and watches, launched its first products today; the Essential Phone, the Essential Home, and a new operating system, Ambient OS.

In a blog post, former Google engineer Andy Rubin explained why he founded the company, beyond “a passion” for craftsmanship, a vision for making all devices “play well together” and “using methods that could change how successful technology companies are built forever”. He wrote: “The real reason is because of what happened during a night out with an old friend of mine. As the night went on we inevitably began talking about what we didn’t like about the current state of technology. Less and less choice. More and more unnecessary features cluttering our lives. An increasing sea of products that didn’t work with one another.

“And just when I was about to drop another criticism it hit me: I am partly responsible for all of this. For all the good Android has done to help bring technology to nearly everyone it has also helped create this weird new world where people are forced to fight with the very technology that was supposed to simplify their lives. Was this what we had intended? Was this the best we could do?

“I left that night reflecting deeply on what was great and what was frustrating with the current state of technology today. After another long talk with my friend we decided that I needed to start a new kind of company using 21st century methods to build products for the way people want to live in the 21st century.”

The result is Essential, whose values Rubin cites as:

  • Devices are your personal property. We won’t force you to have anything on them you don’t want to have.
  • We will always play well with others. Closed ecosystems are divisive and outdated.
  • Premium materials and true craftsmanship shouldn’t be just for the few.
  • Devices shouldn’t become outdated every year. They should evolve with you.
  • Technology should assist you so that you can get on with enjoying your life.
  • Simple is always better.

“I have used the above principles to inform everything Essential is doing and they have helped me attract some of the best and brightest people from all over the world to join me in bringing this vision to life,” said Rubin. “We won’t achieve everything we hope on day one, but if you’re one of those people who also thinks it’s time for something new, please have a look at Essential to learn more.” Rubin wants to make Essential “the first great gadget maker since Apple, one that builds and distributes the open platform that will power the billions of phones, watches, light bulbs, and toaster ovens about to come online”, according to a Wired article.

“Essential launches publicly today with the announcement of two products expected later this summer: a $699 smartphone and a smart-home hub that Rubin hopes will bring order to the endless standards, protocols, and systems wrought by the Internet of Things. To understand what Essential hopes to achieve in the long term, look at the hub. Rubin wants to build an open source, infinitely extensible platform, called Ambient OS, that powers all the smart stuff in your home.”