Andy Rubin unpacks Essential's Ambient OSBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 31 May 2017 | Categories: news
Last night saw Android co-founder Andy Rubin take the stage at Recode's Code Conference. Rubin sat down with tech journalism legend Walt Mossberg to discuss the new company, its first smartphone and Ambient OS. The latter is designed to be an operating system not simply for a smartphone or tablet, but an entire ecosystem of devices.
To dispel any confusion, the Essential Phone is running an Android-based operating system, but at this stage does not seem to be any element of the Ambient OS. Instead, the latter will first be seen in Essential's Home speaker, what we're assuming is a Google Home-esque device that's designed to interact with and control the devices in your household.
Rubin unpacked some of the elements for Ambient OS, but an official demo of its capabilities is yet to arrive. What we know about the operating system is that it will try to become an integral part of the way your home runs. Essential uses the term "activate" when referring to how Ambient OS engages with the devices and people residing in the house.
It's also said to serve as an API, allowing for developers to create new interactions. An example could be flashing the Philips Hue lights in your bathroom, if the oven in the kitchen has been beeping and not turned off. Added to this, Essential wants to use local network connections to facilitate these device interactions, instead of the cloud.
Furthermore, Rubin, or the "father of Android," as The Verge refers to him, will also be making Ambient OS open-source, just like the operating system he developed a few years ago. Whether or not Ambient OS will splinter into several diluted versions, as has been the case for Android, remains to be seen.
These are just the first few steps for Rubin and Essential, both of which have the massive task of disrupting a mobile market which is dominated by a handful of companies, so let's see what they can muster.
To watch his full talk with Walt Mossberg at Code Conference, head to Recode's YouTube channel.
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