Since CES 2024, we have seen this adorable little bright orange (Leuchtorange, to be exact) device everywhere. Despite all the hype, many are still confused about what it is, who it’s for, and why it couldn’t have just been an app.
What Exactly is the Rabbit R1?
The R1 is a $200 AI-powered device that aims to make using your phone less hassle. The goal is to provide you with an app-free online experience. This means it promises to do all the work you’d typically need ten apps for.
It observes your interaction with the apps on your phone and replicates them whenever you ask. So it can quickly learn how to, for instance, book an Uber for you or make a restaurant reservation.
An LAM (Large Action Model) powers it instead of the LLMs (Large Language Models) we see on chatbots and voice assistants. The LAM/LLM difference means it can manage natural language processing and translate it into actionable tasks. So, while Siri might only be able to tell you whether or not it’s raining outside, the R1 will be able to do that and cancel your reservation if it is.
Rabbit’s Recent Partnership with Perplexity AI
Rabbit recently partnered with the AI-powered chatbot and search engine Perplexity AI, which the company is calling the “first of many partnerships,” according to Tom’s Guide. Rabbit seems confident this partnership will lead to more precise answers without a knowledge cutoff. Using Perplexity AI’s LLM API, the R1 will likely produce better results since they come from a bigger knowledge pool. The good news is that Perplexity promises a year of free Perplexity Pro for the first 100,000 people to buy the R1.
How Does the R1 Work?
The R1 isn’t here to replace your phone. It’s supposed to be a harmless gadget that wants to work alongside your phone. After learning and mastering your interactions with your apps, it performs them in its cloud-based environment. So, it’s not like you’d have to download your apps again on this device.
The CES keynote showed Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Expedia, Uber, eBay, and Amazon as some of the apps you’d be able to access via the R1. You’d log in to these apps on the Rabbit Hole—a web portal allowing you to connect with your services—and then the R1 will take it from there. You wouldn’t need to log in or permit it each time repeatedly. The company said it’s analogous to giving a friend your unlocked phone and asking them to order takeout for you.
Currently, it only understands English, but it will soon support French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Swedish.
You can say Humane’s AI Pin is quite similar to the R1, but unlike the Pin, Rabbit’s device doesn’t need a subscription.
Why Couldn’t The R1 Just Be An App?
The R1 intends to work as a standalone device that lets you cut down on your phone usage. The Santa Monica company reiterates in their press release that it wants to consolidate all your services on a device outside your phone. So that you’re not constantly distracted by a million things each time you grab your phone. If the R1 were an app, that wouldn’t have been achievable, according
This is why it comes loaded with a ton of smartphone features such as a sim card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, speakers, and a camera. The Bluetooth lets you connect to headphones, the small 2W speaker is for some onboard sound, and the camera allows you to make video calls. You can also use the camera for some Computer Vision tasks. You can take a picture of the ingredients in your fridge, and it will tell you what you could cook with them. Though there’s a Push-To-Talk button, you can also shake the R1 to launch a keyboard.
Powered by Rabbit OS and sporting 4 GB memory and 128 GB storage, the R1 promises to be sufficient for communicating with your apps for you.
How Does Privacy Work on the Rabbit R1?
At least on paper, Rabbit sounds pretty promising about protecting your privacy on the R1. It claims it won’t store user credentials, and users will have complete control over linking or unlinking services to the Rabbit OS. You’ll also be able to erase your stored data whenever you want.
According to the company, the R1 doesn’t have an “always listening mode,” and the far-field mic on the device will not record until the Push-To-Talk button is pressed. Also, its rotating camera’s default position is such that it physically blocks the lens until the user needs it.