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The oft-forgotten home essential never officially saw the light of day after Essential closed in 2020, however, a prototype of the smart device has surfaced on eBay. The Essential Home was among the company’s planned products that, like Project GEM, were abandoned before Essential finally closed its doors. Apparently the smart home speaker has gone quite far into production as the prototype on the eBay listing seems to light up and work to some degree.
It’s unclear how “complete” the Essential Home prototype is, as the listing doesn’t say if the speaker works or can even connect to a phone, but its value as a working speaker is not. not exactly why anyone would want to buy it. It serves as more of a bizarre piece of mobile industry history than anything else as a monument to the bankrupt company and its controversial leadership.
Based on the many photos included in the listing, however, it’s clear that the Essential Home still had a long way to go before it looked like the renders shared by the company in 2018. The listing images show the pasted screen hastily to the body of the device with tape and speakers that clearly show the interior of the smart home. This contrasts with the smooth edges and overall sleek look of the renders, but since this is a prototype it was probably never intended to be seen in this condition by the public.
One of the images appears to confirm that the device was supposed to be running Android 8.1, which is when Essential was reportedly working on the device before it was canned later in 2018.
The eBay listing has priced the Essential Home prototype at $900 plus shipping, so if you’re looking to buy it, it’s still on the market. Be warned though, as mentioned above, it doesn’t appear to have any other functional purpose other than to present its debug menu, project the Essential logo, and be a chunky clock. Coupled with the band implying that the device barely stays together, it might be better to let someone else hang it up and bid on something else a little more interesting.