The oft-forgotten Essential Home never officially saw the light of day following Essential’s 2020 closure, however, a prototype for the smart device has surfaced on eBay. The Essential Home was a part of the company’s planned products that, like Project GEM, were scrapped before Essential eventually shut its doors. Apparently, the smart home speaker got decently far into production as the eBay listing’s prototype seems to turn on and work to some degree.
It’s unclear just how “finished” the Essential Home prototype is as the listing doesn’t clarify if the speaker works or can even connect to a phone, but its value as a functioning speaker isn’t exactly why anyone would want to buy it. It serves more as an odd piece of the mobile industry’s history than anything else as a monument to the failed company and its controversial leadership.
Based on the numerous photos included in the listing, however, it’s clear that the Essential Home still had a long way to go before it ever resembled the renderings the company shared of it back in 2018. The listing pictures show the screen hastily taped to the body of the device with masking tape and speakers that clearly show the inside of the smart home. This contrasts the smooth edges and overall sleek look of the renderings, but as it’s a prototype, it likely was never meant to be seen in this state by the public.
One of the images seems to confirm that the device was meant to run on Android 8.1 which lines up with when Essential would have been working on the device before canning it later in 2018.
The eBay listing set the price for the Essential Home prototype at $900 in addition to shipping, so if you’re looking to buy it, it’s still on the market. Be warned though, as mentioned above, it doesn’t seem to serve any functional purpose other than showcasing its debug menu, projecting the Essential logo, and being a bulky clock. Paired with the fact that the tape implies that the device is barely staying together, it might be best to let someone else snag it and bid on something else a little more worthwhile.