Essential Phone Release Date Revealed; Andy Rubin Details AI Assistant and Ambient OS

 
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Essential Phone Release Date Revealed; Andy Rubin Details AI Assistant and Ambient OS

Photo Credit: YouTube/ReCode

Highlights

  • Essential Phone is up for pre-order in the US
  • It runs Ambient OS, which is open source, just like Android
  • Essential Phone could integrate third-party AI assistants in the future

Essential Phone and the Essential Home, two new products by Andy Rubin, are the latest entrants in the the smartphone and smart speaker categories respectively, and the amount of attention the products have got is no surprise. Rubin of course is the co-creator of Android – software that is used by billions of users across the world today – so it's safe to say that very few people have caused as giant a ripple effect as Andy Rubin has. After launching Essential Phone smartphone and the 'Home' mart speaker on Tuesday, Rubin took centre stage at the Code conference to reveal more details about the smartphone's shipments, its AI assistant, the new Ambient OS, and much more.

Essential Phone price and release date

In his interview with Walt Mossberg at the conference, Rubin revealed that the Essential Phone will start shipping next month i.e., within 30 days. For now, the company is taking pre-orders with the price starting at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,200). He also said that the Essential Phone and Essential Home will have their own AI assistants – something that’s been a trend these days. However, he noted that he was open to integrate third-party assistants like Google Assistant, Cortana, Alexa, and even Siri, provided the companies agree to make them compatible to Ambient OS for its smart speaker Essential Home.

‘Father of Android’ Launches Modular Smartphone With Dual Cameras

Rubin also confirmed, that just like Android, Ambient OS would also be open source. While this worked in the favour of Android to become a dominant force in running on many smartphones today, it could leave Ambient OS as fragmented as Android, with the fall out being missed ‘vital upgrades’ for many users. However, Rubin countered that rolling out an upgrade to 100 percent customers is impossible. He claimed that even Apple manages to update only 60 to 70 percent of devices. However, Rubin did agree that the upgrade rate on Android was very low, and that his company had a solution for that. However, he did not detail what the solution was.

Android Co-Founder's Smart Speaker Rivals Amazon Echo, Google Home

Essential Phone specifications and features

The Verge also managed to get their hands on a prototype version of the Essential Phone, and posted hands-on images and first impressions. The device runs on plain Android and Google apps, with no bloatware from carriers. The report notes that while the fingerprint scanner is at the back, it is "simpler to reach compared to Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and it’s big enough that it should be an easy target."

Essential 360 Camera Can Be Attached to the Modular Phone

Ports include the USB Type-C port for charging and a microSD card tray slot at the bottom, alongside the speaker grille. The report does note that the front camera lip is a bit jarring to the eyes, but doesn’t come in the way when you use the phone. Rubin also confirmed in his conference interview that the camera won’t come in the way while watching videos either.

Essential Products Is Part of Andy Rubin's Playground Global Incubator

If you’re in the US, you can pre-order the Essential Phone right away. Check out Rubin’s entire interview below.

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Tasneem Akolawala

When not expelling tech wisdom, Tasneem feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people. ... More

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