Essential Products CEO Andy Rubin, known as the co-inventor of the Android operating system while at Google, showed off his latest creation, the Essential Phone. It was discussed during an interview with Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference, along with a Home- or Echo-like device and new operating system called Ambient.
Essential, the Phone -- which is based on the Android operating device -- has its own artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that runs on the phone and on the Home assistant. The Phone will include a 360-degree camera that can be clipped on. The device will not have a headphone jack. Rubin said the trend toward wireless has made connectors obsolete.
Rubin said Home -- which runs on Ambient -- will have a round screen with a less complicated user interface, compared with Google Home and Amazon Echo. He says the device will understand the physical layout of the person's home, its occupants and other available devices.
The products come out of Playground, a hardware design lab and venture fund co-founded by Rubin. He describes the company as a design studio and venture fund. When Rubin stated the company the idea was to build a place where designers could come to create the next generation of intelligent machines.
Essential is Rubin's own startup at Playground. Others include Lighthouse, a smart-home camera; Uavioniz, an aviation hardware company; RightHand Robotics, a robotics company; and Nauto, a company that makes artificially intelligent car cameras.