Ambient OS: Andy Rubin's OS for Essential Home is taking an API approach to controlling your house

The company believes that the OS should not anticipate what the user will do next.

Andy Rubin’s company, Essential Products, has made a new operating system called Ambient OS. The company detailed its take on how the operating system works, including how this is different from the operating systems in the market. This operating system is not something that will compete with Android, iOS or even Windows in the conventional sense. The purpose of this new operating system is to control and ‘activate’ homes. The interesting aspect of this operating system is that it does not rely on the philosophy of ‘point-to-point’ interaction.

 Ambient OS: Andy Rubins OS for Essential Home is taking an API approach to controlling your house

‘Point-to-point’ interaction means that users will interact with a fridge and the interaction is only happening between the human user and the fridge. The ‘smart’ home network does not know anything about that particular interaction. According to the new approach by Ambient OS, the entire house will be aware of the context of all the interactions happening at any given time. This makes it sound like the operating system is really like a glorified and easy to use IFTTT where the system works on recipes, a set of conditional statements, as pointed by The Verge.

The operating system can also be perceived as one single API (Application Programming Interface) to control everything else in your home. The system will be aware of the resources available on your home network. Rubin confirmed that Ambient OS will be open source and it will follow similar development and deployment pattern to that of Android.

Essential Home (3)


The interesting thing to note here is that this ‘contextual’ awareness about the resources is not limited to the computer or computing systems connected to the network, it extends to human users as well. Ambient OS will know the architecture of your house, all the resources that are connected to the system, both in terms of devices and services.

The system will know the contextual information of human users about what they interacted with along with the actions that they asked the system to perform. Ambient OS is designed to provide a number of services along with actions that will enable the users to get things done.

Ambient OS Manuel Roman

Manuel Roman

The OS does not require the user to go to the fridge or coffee machine to interact with the machine to instruct it about what you want. Instead, you control the given device from wherever you are sitting at the moment. To ensure this interconnectivity, the company claims that Ambient OS can control all the devices that can be controlled by SiriKit, Google Home or Alexa. The interesting part about this is that the operating system will try to interact with the connected devices directly without trying to interact with the devices using a cloud server.

Essential Home (2)

The system will also try to keep all your data locally without putting it online, both of which will ensure optimum privacy for users. Last but not the least, Ambient OS is not ‘smart’ and it is not claiming to be smart. The company believes that the OS should not anticipate what the user will do next. Instead, the operating system should just ‘suggest’ some ‘behaviors’ leaving the execution of the action to the user.

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